Mike Bloomberg is under fire from Democratic — and President Donald Trump — over resurfaced comments in which he says the way to bring down murder rates is to “put a lot of cops” in minority neighborhoods because that’s where “all the crime is.”
The billionaire and former New York mayor made the comments at a 2015 appearance at the Aspen Institute, as part of an overall defense of his support for the controversial “stop and frisk” policing tactic in New York City. Critics said it disproportionately targeted minorities, and it is extremely unpopular among liberal voters.
Bloomberg launched his Democratic presidential bid late last year with an apology for his support for the policy.
But the audio of his Aspen speech highlights his embrace of the policy just a few years ago, and suggests he was aware of the disproportionate impact of stop-and-frisk on minorities.
Bloomberg says that “95 percent” of murders and murder victims are young male minorities and that “you can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops.” To combat crime, he says, “put a lot of cops where the crime is, which means in minority neighborhoods.”
Share this far and wide. Unless the mainstream media picks it up, it will be isolated to twitter. pic.twitter.com/Fm0YCi4ZRy
— Benjamin Dixon (@BenjaminPDixon) February 11, 2020
He acknowledges focusing police forces in minority neighborhoods means minorities are disproportionately arrested for marijuana possession, but dismisses that as a necessary consequence of the crime in those neighborhoods. And to “get the guns out of the kids hands,” Bloomberg says, police must “throw ’em against the wall and frisk ’em.”
“And they say, ‘oh, I don’t want that, I don’t wanna get caught.’ So they don’t bring the gun,” he says.
According to a report in The Aspen Times that year, Bloomberg blocked the release of video of the Aspen Institute appearance, but The Aspen Times reporter uploaded what appears to be the full audio online, and it drew renewed attention Monday after podcaster Benjamin Dixon circulated it on twitter.
Sponsored: Eat This to Improve Your Memory
Early Tuesday, Bloomberg faced sharp criticism. Symone Sanders, a top adviser to Joe Biden’s campaign, called the comments “sad and despicable,” and said he “will have to answer for these comments.”
Trump shared the clip of the audio on social media, declaring “Bloomberg’s a racist” but soon deleted the tweet.
The Bloomberg campaign did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Associated Press contributed to this article