The former mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, met Sunday with African-American constituents in Brooklyn, reinforcing speculation about his possible Democratic presidential candidacy.
During the meeting, the billionaire businessman apologized for the controversial “Stop-and-Frisk” policy that was widely applied during his tenure, mostly affecting Hispanics and African Americans.
"I was wrong," said the former president.RELATED
For years, "Stop-and-Frisk" gave the police the freedom to detain anyone suspected of committing a crime, leading to thousands of unfair detentions of minorities.
It is estimated that in 2011, 87% of those arrested for “Stop-and-Frisk” were black or Latino. Until very recently, Bloomberg had defended the practice, even though a federal judge declared in 2013 that it violated the constitutional rights of minorities.
But, this Sunday the former president told attendees that he regretted if someone had been unjustly detained due to the practice and said he seeks to regain the trust of the community.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and other local officials responded to Bloomberg's apology with strong criticism. In a tweet, the president described the apology as "cynical" and said that his administration has been undoing the damage that Bloomberg created for six years. On the other hand, the president of the police union Pat Lynch said that Bloomberg could have saved his apology "if he had listened to police officers on the street."
The apology comes to strong rumors that Bloomberg will launch a Democratic nomination for the presidency. Although he has not made a formal announcement, he is expected to enter the 2020 contest late, as he made his registration as a candidate for the Democratic primary in Alabama two weeks ago.
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