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“The Five” hosts responded Tuesday to the damning 2015 audio clip of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg defending his stop-and-frisk policy, following speculation that the law, which has been panned by critics as racial profiling, could hurt his status with minority voters.
“I will criticize him, but I will also defend him,” co-host Greg Gutfeld said of Bloomberg. “That was a bad way to put it … it was inelegant, to put it mildly … [but] what is missing in the story is, what was the reality like before this was instituted?” he asked. “Were there meetings where minority citizens and family members plead[ed] for help in a neighborhood that was plagued by crime?”
In remarks to the nonprofit Aspen Institute, Bloomberg wholeheartedly defending the police profiling of young New Yorkers – “male, minorities, 16-25” – whom he said cops must throw “up against the wall” to disarm. In another clip, he argued that minorities are stopped “too little” compared with white people.
The new footage sparked outrage among some black voters, including prominent black Democratic lawmakers who called on the candidate to more forcefully disavow his controversial policy. As of early Tuesday, the hashtag “BloombergIsARacist” began trending on Twitter, leading some to suggest whether the audio could undermine the 2020 presidential candidate’s subsequent apologies for backing the policy.
Gutfeld highlighted the “cruel irony here for people who were just trying to make a minority neighborhood safer,” explaining that the “methods you used to help the minority neighborhoods can be recast as specifically targeting minorities simply because it is in that community, when actually what you are trying to do is save people’s lives.”
Co-host Juan Williams criticized the controversial policy for “harassing black kids in America” noting that only one in ten of those stopped while the policy was in effect was found in possession of illegal substances.
“I think black people are citizens and they want to be safer, and they want police protection in the neighborhoods,” Williams said, “but it is not the case that you want to have your kid, [your] son especially, walk out the door, get in the car, and realize they will be immediately harassed for being a black kid in America.”
“It is not a matter of providing protection. It is not an anti-police attitude,” Willaims continued. “You are antagonizing a whole community, not only the young men, but also their families.”
Co-host Jesse Watters agreed with Williams, and blamed the law for “hurting the relationship between police and the community.”
“I agree with Juan,” Watters said. “80 percent of the time that they would frisk these people, nothing was found, no weapons, nothing. These were innocent people.”