Resurfaced comments on policing from a 2015 speech at the Aspen Institute by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the billionaire oligarch trying to buy his way to the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, drew fire from progressives on social media who said the remarks make clear that Bloomberg cannot be the party’s nominee against President Donald Trump.
“Bloomberg is another Trump,” tweeted progressive writer Arnesa Buljušmić-Kustura.
In a clip from the 2015 speech posted to Twitter by progressive radio host Benjamin Dixon, Bloomberg is heard describing stop and frisk as a necesssary policy that targets minority neighborhoods because that’s “where the crime is.”
“Ninety-five percent of murders- murderers and murder victims fit one M.O.,” Bloomberg says in the clip. “You can just take the description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops. They are male, minorities, 16-25. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city (inaudible).”
On Twitter, Dixon said that the recording is part of a problematic history for Bloomberg as the former mayor uses his vast fortune to attempt to convince Democratic primary voters to support his bid for the nomination.
“Bloomberg’s broken windows policing absolutely created the culture of racial profiling that led to Black Americans being disproportionately accosted by the police,” said Dixon.
As Slate reported Tuesday, Bloomberg’s history as mayor could be a hinderance in reaching out to an increasingly progressive Democratic primary electorate:
The techniques and strategies used during Michael Bloomberg’s tenure at New York City mayor were a known vulnerability in his new life as a Democratic presidential candidate. During his 12 years as mayor, Bloomberg advocated for the city’s stop-and-frisk policy that gave police officers wide latitude to aggressively police stop and search anyone vaguely suspected of a crime. There was even an official “furtive movements” category for reason of arrest. As a result, New York City police piled into minority neighborhoods making millions of stops targeting black and brown young men in the name of deterrence. In 2013, a federal judge ruled the tactics a violation of the constitutional rights of largely minority communities. Bloomberg stood by stop-and-frisk even as it was phased out at the end of his term and then undone under his successor.
Another recording of Bloomberg resurfaced by progressives shows the former mayor defending the city’s racial profiling policing policies to WOR-710 host John Gambling.
“I think we disproportionately stop whites too much, and minorities too little,” said Bloomberg.
Bloomberg has recently come under fire for not releasing a number of women from non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) about their time working for him and for his incredible personal fortune estimated by Forbes at around $61.8 billion.
But the Dixon video, which at press time had well over 3.5 million views, is likely to stick. Trump himself tweeted out the video briefly before deleting the post. Dixon opined that the president may have posted before researching.
“I’m guessing he read the thread where we ripped him to shreds for his own racism,” Dixon said of Trump.
Phillip Agnew, a surrogate for the 2020 Democratic presidential campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), suggested Tuesday that New Yorkers impacted by Bloomberg’s policies should alert other voters of color to the threat posed by the former mayor.
“Would be crazy if black/brown New Yorkers who had their lives completely destroyed by Mike Bloomberg traveled down to the South to knock on doors, tell their stories and warn their cousins,” said Agnew.
Main Image: Michael Bloomberg | David Berkowitz