Leaked Bloomberg Audio Reveals Racist Attitudes
“95% of your murders…fit one M.O. You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male, minorities, sixteen to twenty-five… that’s true in virtually every city,” said presidential hopeful Mike Bloomberg.
In recently leaked audio, presidential candidate and former New York mayor Mike Bloomberg can be heard defending stop and frisk and disproportionately locking up minorities for marijuana possession.
The audio originates from a speech Bloomberg gave at the 2015 Aspen Institute. At the time, Bloomberg asked the Aspen Institute to not release the recording of the audio to the public, and the organizers of the event obliged.
In one of the most startling moments of the tape, Bloomberg said, “the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against walls and frisk them.”
He also justified locking up minorities in disproportionate numbers for small arrests such as marijuana charges and said, “because we put all the cops in the minority neighborhood…because that’s where all the crime is.”
In another circulating clip, Bloomberg said on his own radio show in 2013, “I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little.”
The Bloomberg campaign is yet to comment on the Aspen Institute tape.
2020 Presidential Bid
Bloomberg has been flooding every medium with advertising for his late 2020 bid for the Democratic presidential nomination, but he has had to contend with his checkered past as the mayor of the country’s biggest city.
Under his watch, the New York Police Department increased stop and frisks from 100,000 to 700,000, targeting mostly minority populations.
In 2019, Bloomberg attempted to apologize for his ardent defense of the racist policy, but according to NBC News, the apology fell on deaf ears at a black church in Brooklyn.
“It is convenient that Bloomberg suddenly apologizes but has done nothing to undo the immense damage he has caused on countless lives,” said activist DeRay Mckesson, “his apology is not accepted.”
In addition to institutionalizing racial profiling at the NYPD, Bloomberg’s second most famous policy was a highly unpopular regressive tax on sugary drinks. In combination with his clearance of Zuccotti Park to crush the Occupy Wall Street movement and his estimated $60 billion fortune, Bloomberg is running counter to much of the current energy in the Democratic party.
And while Bloomberg is highly unlikely to win over a majority of Democratic voters or delegates, he spent over $300 million on advertising before the Iowa caucus and many news outlets have reported he plans to double that total in the coming weeks.
In some regards, the ad blitz has worked with the former mayor sitting in third place nationally in the latest Quinnipiac poll, 10% behind first-place Bernie Sanders.
Tough on Crime
While the ad blitz has been in full effect, many Americans are yet to be reminded of Bloomberg’s glaring weak spots. He is yet to appear on a debate stage, and he has largely remained out of the national conversation in terms of policy issues.
This sort of ‘tough on crime’ rhetoric seems very out of place with the general tone of the Democratic race, and it places Bloomberg in an unsavory position considering his late-starting 2020 bid.
Even Bloomberg has changed his tune on stop and frisk in an appeal to win over minority voters. While he has sat out of the first four races, locking himself out of winning delegates, he has performed well in national polls.
But, a tough on crime background will be a hard sell to many Democratic voters especially those scarred by the negative effects of police violence in America.
With this said, mainstream media including MSNBC has been going to bat for the New York billionaire.
An exchange between Bernie Sanders surrogate Nina Turner and MSNBC correspondent Jason Johnson went viral after Johnson defended Bloomberg against Turner calling the billionaire an oligarch. Johnson said, “Mike Bloomberg is just a rich guy.” Bloomberg has been breaking records on self-funding his presidential bid and has spent three times more on advertising than all other campaigns combined.
While Bloomberg’s candidacy appears to be out-of-step with the momentum in the Democratic Party, so far, he has skated by, buying political exposure and ignoring the traditional route.