Speaking at the Christian Cultural Center over the weekend, Bloomberg, who is looking at running for president in 2020, said he did not understand the “full impact” that the stops were having on black and Latino communities.
“I now see that we should have acted sooner, and acted faster, to cut the stops,” he said. “I was wrong, and I am sorry.”
Later that night, Mayor Bill de Blasio, in an interview on CNN, chastised his predecessor for not listening to critics who said stop-and-frisk was discriminatory and harming families.
“This was absolutely a divisive policy,” he said.
De Blasio, like many of the Democratic candidates running for mayor in 2013, ran on a platform of “ending the stop-and-frisk era.” In the six years since he was elected, de Blasio’s NYPD has dramatically reduced the use of the controversial policing tactic.
But that doesn’t mean the mayor has any right to lecture or gloat about his record on policing. Ask police reform groups, and they can list a litany of reasons why the de Blasio administration hasn’t done much better when it comes to improving relations between the NYPD and communities of color.
For example, de Blasio chose Bill Bratton to replace Ray Kelly as police commissioner. Bratton, a champion of the “broken windows” policy, was immediately criticized by reform groups. They felt broken windows, like stop-and-frisk, mostly targeted people of color.
Under de Blasio, the NYPD did not fire or discipline officers for the police killings of civilians including Delrawn Smalls, Saheed Vassell and others. It took five years for Officer Daniel Pantaleo to be fired for the killing of Eric Garner in 2014.
Police reformers have also gone after de Blasio for watering down the Right to Know Act and for not supporting the repeal of the 50-A State Police Secrecy Law.
While de Blasio can say he was on the right side of the stop-and-frisk debate, he should take a hard look at his own record on policing before eagerly criticizing Bloomberg or any other executive.