Things That Matter

Michael Bloomberg Apologizes For Stop-And-Frisk Policy But A Racially-Charged Audio Clip Shows A Different Side

An audio clip is circulating that shows Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s full-throated support of stop and frisk and racial profiling. The candidate has tried to distance himself from the racist and dangerous policy that did more damage to minority communities than it solved crimes.

Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg’s own words supporting racial profiling are coming back to haunt him.

The clip is from a speech the former mayor of New York gave in 2015. In the speech, he not only defends the use of stop and frisk but uses racist stereotypes and tropes to make his point. Bloomberg admits that he wants his police force to racially profile people in order to make the arrests. How? Well, Bloomberg believes that you can send the police to minority communities because that is where the crimes are committed. He also claimed that the victims and murderers fit one M.O. so you can Xerox the description to all of the police so any Black or brown person should be treated as a criminal subjected to unconstitutional searches.

But, don’t worry. Bloomberg feels bad about it now and wishes he acted sooner.

Before the event in Houston, Bloomberg tried to brag about how he cut back the program by 95 percent before he left the office of Mayor of New York City. However, what he fails to tell people is that during his time in office, he expanded the stop and frisk program. He also pressured the police force to keep the number of arrests and stops with stop and frisk at very high levels for years. He only cut back the program because his office was facing numerous and mounting lawsuits and political pressure.

Basically, Bloomberg is now apologizing for a program he embraced and expanded while mayor of New York. He is now backpedaling his racist comments and association to the program because he is running for president. Does he have any actual remorse? That’s yet to be proven.

In speaking to potential voters at the Christian Cultural Center, a Black church in Brooklyn, Bloomberg showed remorse for his handling of the controversial stop-and-frisk policy. During his 12-year tenure as mayor and well after he left office, Bloomberg defended the policing strategy which allowed city officers to stop and search anyone they suspected of committing a crime.

“I was determined to improve police-community relations while at the same time reducing crime even further,” Bloomberg said at the church. “Our focus was on saving lives. But the fact is: Far too many innocent people were being stopped.”

Statistics show that the policy didn’t work as it should have and instead targeted people of color in the community, most notably Black and Latino residents.  

Credit: @ava / Twitter

The stop-and-frisk policy was in place long before Bloomberg took office in 2002 and has long been viewed as a policy that directly targeted Black and Latino communities. The strategy allowed city police to detain an individual and subject them to unnecessary searches sometimes to look for possible weapons, drugs or other paraphernalia. An officer would have to have a reasonable belief that the person is, has been, or is about to be involved in a crime. The purpose of the policy was to deter violent crime in the city but, in return, it destroyed police-community relations for years in New York. 

“The temperature in the city at the time was that the police were at war with Black and brown people on the streets,” Jenn Rolnick-Borchetta, the director of impact litigation at the Bronx Defenders, told the New York Times. “And that is how people experienced it.”

Statistics show that Black and Latino people were nine times as likely as white people to be stopped by police officers when it came to the policy. They were no more likely to be arrested, the New York Times reported back in May 2010.

During Bloomberg’s tenure as New York City mayor, there was a huge spike in the overall use of the stop-and-frisk policy. According to the New York Times, the number of stops reached a peak of 685,724 in 2011 and then fell to 191,851 in 2013. In Bloomberg’s 12 year tenure as mayor, there were 5,081,689 stops by police recorded. 

Political pundits and criminal justice reform advocates are fiercely criticizing Bloomberg’s sudden backtracking on the controversial policy.

Credit: @NYCmayor / Twitter

There has been a growing wave of criticism for Bloomberg’s sudden policy walk back that is coming just as he is set to announce his 20202 campaign run. Many are criticizing Bloomberg as changing his tune in an attempt to appeal to the voters once terrorized by a policy he spent over a decade defending. One of the most high profile critics has been current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who dropped out of the 2020 presidential race earlier this year. 

“This is LONG overdue and the timing is transparent and cynical,” Mayor de Blasio tweeted.“With all due respect to my predecessor, we’ve spent six years undoing the damage he created with this bankrupt policy. We ended stop and frisk AND drove down crime. Actions speak louder than words.”

Another critic was social justice advocate Shawn King who decried Bloomberg’s apology. He voiced what some see as a political walk back in midst of a potential run at president. 

“BULLSHIT. After years of running the Apartheid-like policy of stopping and frisking millions of people of color throughout New York City, and then defending it every day in office, then every day he was out of office up until this week, @MikeBloomberg,” King tweeted

Many view his apology as a way to try to gain Black and Latino voters. More importantly, it is seen as an attempt to regain years of lost trust between him and the community. 

Credit: @amandawrites / Twitter

“The fact is, far too many innocent people were being stopped while we tried to do that. The overwhelming majority of them were black and Latino,” Bloomberg told church attendees on Sunday. “That may have included, I’m sorry to say, some of you here today. Perhaps yourself or your children, or your grandchildren, or your neighbors, or your relatives.”

There is one notable person that has voiced his approval in Bloomberg’s apology, Rev. Al Sharpton, who said the former mayor reached out to him. He says that history will be the judge of the policy-making that Bloomberg had in New York City. 

“Whatever his motive is, I’m glad that he’s taking this stand,” Sharpton told the Daily News. “We will have to wait and see whether it was politically motivated but Mr. Bloomberg should be judged by the same standards we judged Joe Biden, the author of the 1994 Crime Bill that led to disproportionate numbers of Black and brown men going to jail for years, as well as Senator Bernie Sanders, who voted for it.”

READ: This Latina Housekeeper Was Accused Of Theft After She Found Lady Gaga’s Golden Globes Gown And Put It Up For Sale Months Later

The Lincoln Project Is A Conservative Organization Trying To Get Donald Trump Out Of Office

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The Lincoln Project Is A Conservative Organization Trying To Get Donald Trump Out Of Office

Alex Wong / Getty Images

As 2020 drags on, the campaign for the U.S. presidency is still going. President Donald Trump is hoping for another term though polling shows him far behind Joe Biden as the months go on. One Republican organization is pushing for President Trump to lose the election. The organization is called The Lincoln Project.

Republican organization The Lincoln Project is going after President Donald Trump.

A group of Republicans, Kellyanne Conway’s husband among them, have joined forces to go after President Trump in the 2020 election. The organization is using Trump’s own actions and words to create ads to criticize his actions. One ad goes after his willingness to downplay the severity of COVID-19 leading to thousands of preventable deaths.

“We are Republican, and we want Trump defeated,” reads the website.

Some people on social media have compared The Lincoln Project’s videos to President Trump’s own energy when he attacks opponents. Supporters of The Lincoln Project, according to YouTube comments, appreciate the organization’s willingness to go low when Trump goes low.

They have attached his legacy to the argument over the Confederate flag.

The ad calls out the history of the Confederate flag and what it represents: treason. The flag was flown by people trying to destroy the U.S. and leave the nation. The Lincoln Project asks why Trump would support a flag flown by losers and treasonous people, especially since it is often seen in his rallies. The wide use of the Confederate flag at Trump rallies is not only attaching Trump to that legacy, but also the Republican Party.

The organization is really not holding anything back.

The economy, rapid unemployment, and a bungled response to COVID-19 are all anchors The Lincoln Project is putting on the Trump campaign. The president is in trouble in the polls with Biden leading in several reputable polls. Even notoriously conservative polls have placed Trump behind Biden in the race for the White House.

READ: People Who Voted For Trump’s 2016 Election Opened Up About The Moment They Decided To Not Vote For Him In 2020

From DC To Iowa, Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Yesterday’s Primary

Things That Matter

From DC To Iowa, Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Yesterday’s Primary

Drew Angerer / Getty

With all that’s going on across the country – between a national health crisis and social unrest in response to the continued murders of unarmed Black men – you’d be forgiven for forgetting that we’re still in the middle of an election year. In fact, we’re still in the middle of a primary season. I know, it seems like 2020 has already dragged forever but we still have a ways to go.

Thankfully, despite all the challenges the country is facing, millions of voters still stepped out yesterday to let their voices be heard in the primary process.

In D.C., people lined up to vote despite protests, a pandemic, a city-wide curfew, and threats of police violence.

Credit: Stuart Garibaldi / Facebook

I anticipation of continued anti-police brutality demonstrations, all of D.C. was under a 7 p.m. curfew for a fifth consecutive day. However, Mayor Muriel Browser pointed out on social media and in interviews that residents would be allowed to cast ballots no matter the hour as long as they were in line before 8 p.m. Essential workers and journalists are also exempted from the city’s curfew.

More than four hours after polls closed for D.C.’s primary election, some District voters throughout the city were still waiting in line to cast their ballots, as the June 2 primary stretched into June 3.

In one part of the city, Ward 4, more than 100 people remained in line to vote as of 11:15 p.m. According to several elections volunteers however, most people at the polling center were sticking it out and “people are really positive and patient.”

The precinct is one of many across the city where people waited upwards of four hours to vote.

Police allegedly threatened D.C. voters who were in line to vote, despite being exempt from the city’s curfew.

The Mayor’s order made it very clear that as long as you were in line to vote before the 8 p.m. poll closing time, you would be able to cast your vote no matter the hour. Basically, anyone who was out past the 7 p.m. curfew to vote was exempt from the curfew order.

But according to some reports, some police didn’t seem to know or care about this exemption. Many took to Twitter to share that while waiting in line, police were harassing them and demanding they return home.

Meanwhile, in Iowa, Republicans finally drove racist and anti-immigrant Rep. Steve King from office.

King’s defeat was the top headline in Tuesday’s primaries. The nine-term congressman with a history of racist and anti-immigrant remarks was ousted after the GOP establishment lined up in support of his challenger, Randy Feenstra.

King’s defeat doesn’t necessarily mean a progressive candidate will take his place. Most pundits expect his Iowa district to remain in Republican control come the general election in November – Trump carried the district by nearly 30 points in 2016.

But getting rid of King is a win for all sides. He had a history of hate rhetoric targeting Black and Latino communities. But only after a New York Times interview in January 2019, in which the congressman questioned why the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” were offensive, did he finally lose the support of GOP leaders.

In 2013, in response to proposed immigration legislation, King said this of migrants, “For every one who’s a valedictorian, there’s another 100 out there who weigh 130 pounds—and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they’re hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert.”

Yesterday’s primaries also revealed challenges states face in the upcoming general election caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

The coronavirus pandemic presents states with two immense challenges: how to deal with the wave of mail ballots from voters who don’t wish to travel to their polling place in person, and how to accommodate those who do show up and follow the necessary medical precautions.

Yesterday, lines stretch on for hours. So states need to figure out how to safely accommodate the increase in voters and provide them with social-distant ways to vote.

Obviously, it’s fantastic that Americans are voting in record numbers. We need everyone to vote to be able to achieve the kind of change that we want and need to see in this country. But all of this means that come November, America may not know who wins the presidency on Nov. 3.