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A newly-surfaced recording from a 2015 speech by Michael Bloomberg, in which the former three-term mayor of New York City gives a full-throated defense of the controversial policing procedure known as “stop and frisk,” is threatening to undermine the 2020 presidential candidate’s subsequent apologies for backing the policy and hurt his status with minority voters.
In an audio clip of a 2015 speech, the billionaire gave to the Aspen Institute, Bloomberg acknowledged that “stop and frisk,” targeted minority “kids” who cops must throw “up against the wall” to disarm. The Aspen Times reported at the time that Bloomberg representatives asked the Institute not to distribute footage of his appearance.
“Ninety-five percent of murders- murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. You can just take a description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops,” he said. “They are male, minorities, 16-25. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city (inaudible). And that’s where the real crime is. You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of people that are getting killed.”
Bloomberg also said urban crime-fighting required cities to “spend the money” and “put a lot of cops in the streets,” particularly in “minority neighborhoods,” where he said the crime is. He also acknowledged the “unintended consequences” of the policy.
“So one of the unintended consequences is people say, ‘Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.’ Yes, that’s true. Why? Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods,” Bloomberg is heard saying on the recording. “Yes, that’s true. Why do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is. And the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them… And then they start… ‘Oh I don’t want to get caught.’ So they don’t bring the gun. They still have a gun, but they leave it at home.”
The Bloomberg campaign did not immediately respond to Fox News’ requests for comment.
Bloomberg, who is funding his campaign with hundreds of millions of dollars from his vast fortune, has surged in recent polls as some within the Democrat Party seek a more moderate alternative to far-left candidates such as senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign appears to be in free-fall. Bloomberg, who succeeded Rudy Giuliani as mayor of America’s biggest city and continued to suppress crime, has been repeatedly grilled about his previous support for “stop and frisk,” which some critics consider a racist approach to policing.
“Over time I’ve come to understand something that I’ve long struggled to admit to myself,” Bloomberg told congregants at the Christian Cultural Center in the East New York neighborhood of Brooklyn. “I got something important wrong. I got something important really wrong.”
Bloomberg defended his intentions, which were to reduce gun violence, but admitted that he made an error in how he went about it, even noting that when he put in safeguards to reduce police stops, crime did not go up.
“Today, I want you to know that I realize that back then I was wrong,” he said. “And I’m sorry.”
Fox News’ Ronn Blitzer contributed to this report.