Steyer: Bloomberg's 2015 defense of stop-and-frisk is "extremely disturbing"

Steyer: Bloomberg's 2015 defense of stop-and-frisk is

A day after an audio clip emerged of Bloomberg bluntly defending the stop-and-frisk policy he oversaw as mayor, Bloomberg's campaign manager, Kevin Sheekey, sought to portray it as an indication Trump is anxious about Bloomberg's rise and the prospect of running against him in the general election.

The New York Times responded on Tuesday morning, but only grudgingly.

The billionaire a year ago apologised for backing stop-and frisk policing as he launched his White House campaign.

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, a national co-chair of Michael Bloomberg's campaign, called Bloomberg's comments "terrible" but called the backlash against him "fake outrage".

What does the audio reveal?

"You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass out to all the cops". He continues, "They are male minorities, 15 to 25".

"It's true in virtually every city". That's where the real crime is.

"So when you say it has no impact, it really did". To combat crime, he says, "put a lot of cops where the crime is, which means in minority neighbourhoods".

"Some of us know the true terrorist that he is", Fields wrote in a now-deleted reference to Bloomberg. "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 walls and frisk them", Bloomberg is reported to have said.

"We need someone in the White House who will unite us behind the common objective of rebuilding our nation's infrastructure and driving our economy forward into the 21st century", Meeks said in his announcement.

"Stop and frisk was a uniquely and largely Bloomberg-administration policy".

The inflammatory audio, originally posted by political podcaster Ben Dixon, got a boost from an unexpected quarter when President Donald Trump retweeted it - only to delete it shortly thereafter.

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He highlighted it with the hashtag #BloombergIsARacist.

Also endorsing Bloomberg on Wednesday were U.S. Representative Lucy McBath of Georgia, who said she was backing Bloomberg in part because of his proposals to curb gun violence.

Within hours of the audio recording surfacing, Bloomberg met with more than 20 black faith leaders at his campaign headquarters in NY and then released a statement from them voicing continued support for his campaign.

But the audio of his Aspen speech highlights his embrace of the policy just a few years ago, and suggests he was aware of the disproportionate effects of stop and frisk on minorities.

Gregory Meeks (D-NY) and Stacey Plaskett of the Virgin Islands did not mention Bloomberg's support of stop and frisk policing practices during his time as New York City's mayor.

But critics argued that stop-and-frisk granted police officers too much liberty in detaining, questioning and searching people, thus violating their constitutional rights in many cases. According to statistics, around 90 percent of those stopped and frisked were African-American or Latino, while the same two groups were found to represent 74 percent of arrests as a result of the searches.

He said he believed that stop-and-frisk saved lives, but accepted that good intentions were not enough.

Already, Bloomberg has poured more than $300 million of his own money into ads and organizing across the country, with staff in more than 40 states, far outpacing what his Democratic rivals who are relying on campaign donations have been able to amass. Bloomberg did not compete in the New Hampshire primary, but his campaign office is vowing to keep the office open through November.

Pundits were sceptical of his plan, though his steady rise in the polls has appeared to prove them wrong.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden has long held an overwhelming advantage with African Americans, pointing to their support as a firewall that would provide him with a much-needed primary win in SC at the end of the month.

Who will take on Trump in 2020?

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