“The View” co-host Sunny Hostin questioned Democratic hopeful Michael Bloomberg on Wednesday over why he changed his tune about the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program just before announcing his 2020 presidential bid.
Hostin confronted the former New York City mayor about the sincerity of his November apology for a controversial policy that disproportionately targeted “people of color, especially young Black and Latino men and boys, the vast majority of whom have done nothing wrong.”
Hostin noted that the program caused a 600% increase in police stops targeting people of color — “90% of whom were innocent,” she said — and questioned Bloomberg’s motives for his reversal. As recently as January 2019, he had supported stop and frisk, Hostin noted.
“In January of that year you stood up for stop and frisk,” she said. “So, what happened between January and November that caused this change of heart? Because it sounds like a political move to me.”
Bloomberg, who announced his run for president later in November, did not deny that the timing of his apology was political; in his first speech as a potential 2020 candidate, the 77-year-old told a predominantly Black megachurch in Brooklyn: “I was wrong and I am sorry.”
Bloomberg told Hostin that when he was elected, there were 650 murders a year in New York City.
“I said, ‘We just have to stop this.’ That’s where my heart is, that’s what I wanted to do and I would do virtually anything I could, anything that professionals gave me some advice to do to stop that. And when I left office, it was down to 300. So, it saved a lot of lives, but during that period, in looking back, it certainly got out of hand and we stopped more,” he explained.
“We had gone way overboard,” Bloomberg continued. “I stopped it, and before I left office, we cut 95% of it out. Then, I apologized when enough people said to me, ‘You were wrong’ and I thought about it, and I wish I had done it earlier. I just didn’t. So, you apologize and go on. In my heart of hearts, I tried to do things that make this country better.”
“Late Show” host Stephen Colbert pressed Bloomberg on the same topic on Tuesday night.
Bloomberg admitted to Colbert that near the end of his time as mayor, he “realized we were getting out of control and doing it too much.”
Colbert responded by asking Bloomberg why he didn’t assess the problems with stop and frisk while they were happening.
“As a leader, don’t we want to know that while you’re in power you change your mind, not after it doesn’t matter?” asked Colbert, who was interrupted by Bloomberg.
“No, we did, but the murder rate went from 650 down to 300. We reduced dramatically,” said Bloomberg.
Colbert pushed back: “But you’re saying afterwards it wasn’t because of stop and frisk, because when you stopped it, it didn’t change anything.”
To that, Bloomberg said: “Well, we did the best thing we can. I think it had something to do with it at some point in time. You do too much of one thing, then you should stop doing it.”