“Stop and Frisk” Cannot Be Apologized For
“Stop and Frisk” cannot be explained away by Mike Bloomberg as an ‘oops, my bad’, here’s why.
On February 13, 2020, Michael Bloomberg issued an ‘apology’ for “Stop-and-Frisk” saying:
“There is one aspect of approach that I deeply regret, the abuse of police practice called stop and frisk. I defended it, looking back, for too long because I didn’t understand then the unintended pain it was causing to young black and brown families and their kids. I should have acted sooner and faster to stop it. I didn’t, and for that I apologize.”
Deeply regret, huh? I deeply regret eating an entire container of Breyer’s Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream for dinner last night. I deeply regret not studying hard as I should have for my biology quiz last week. I deeply regret not buying these adorable shoes I saw when I was shopping a few days ago.
You do not get to “deeply regret” giving the green light to a policy that terrorized black and brown communities for years. F*ck that.
“Stop and Frisk” cannot be explained away as an ‘oopsie.’ Michael Bloomberg is 78 years old. He was 60 years old at the start of his career as mayor in 2002. Are you telling me it took him until the big age of 78 to realize that a racist policy was…racist? K. I was 13 in 2013, and I guarantee you that 13-year-old me would have disavowed “Stop-and-Frisk.”
How he can even be comfortable running for president with such an abhorrent policy linked to his name is beyond my grasp of understanding.
Micheal Bloomberg’s ‘apology tour’ for the implementation of “Stop-and-Frisk” has been laughably vapid. He only started apologizing for the policy once he announced his run for president. Up until a few months ago, Bloomberg had been entirely unrepentant. Here are a couple of things he has said defending the use of Stop-and-Frisk:
“Ninety-five percent of murders- murderers and murder victims fit one M.O. You can just take a description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all the cops. They are male, minorities, 16–25. That’s true in New York, that’s true in virtually every city (inaudible). And that’s where the real crime is. You’ve got to get the guns out of the hands of people that are getting killed.”
“One of the unintended consequences is people say, ‘Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana. They’re all minorities.’ Yes, that’s true. Why? Because we put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods. Yes, that’s true. Why do you do it? Because that’s where all the crime is.”
— a speech by Bloomberg given at the Aspen Institute in Feb. 2015.
Naming the policy “Stop and Frisk” was a more palatable way of re-branding “Can I see your papers, boy?”
Cornell Law School’s website describes “Stop-and-Frisk” as a “brief non-intrusive police stop of a suspect. The Fourth Amendment requires that before stopping the suspect, the police must have a reasonable suspicion that a crime has been, is being, or is about to be committed by the suspect. If the police reasonably suspect that the suspect is armed and dangerous, the police may frisk the suspect.”
“Reasonable Suspicion” = exist as a black person
“Reasonable suspicion that a crime has been, is being, or is about to be committed by the suspect.” = This is literally the plot of the movie Minority Report.
During a podcast Bloomberg said “I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little.” in reference to “Stop-and-Frisk.”
Yes, because the first thing I think about in reference to those most negatively affected by “Stop and Frisk” in New York City, I think of white men. That statement doesn’t even hold up in Bloomberg’s New York City. The data collected directly proves his ignorant statement false.
Micheal Bloomberg was mayor of New York City for 12 years- from January 1, 2002, to December 31, 2013. So, let’s look at the breakdown of the annual “Stop-and-Frisk Numbers” from 2002 to 2013:
Total Number of Recorded Stops via Stop-and-Frisk in NYC from 2002 to 2013: 5,081,689 people stopped
Recorded Number of Black People Stopped via Stop-and-Frisk in NYC from 2002 to 2013: 2,581,753 black people stopped (50.8%)
Recorded Number of People Stopped via Stop-and-Frisk in NYC from 2002 to 2013 That Were Proven Innocent: 4,472,200 innocent people victimized (88%)
Why do black and brown people have to suffer until white policymakers suddenly grow a conscience? Why do black and brown people have to wait for white lawmakers to acknowledge a policy is racist before the policy is changed? Why should we accept an apology from a man who was okay with passing an extremely racist policy in his 60’s? Why should black people as a whole feel at ease with him potentially being the Democratic nomination, knowing he only apologized because he’s a presidential candidate? Why should we accept words as an apology for an authentic, highly detrimental structural policy?
Bloomberg, I think I speak for millions of black and brown people all over the country when I say: Apology not accepted.
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Solér Bean is a freelance writer and an always-exhausted college student. A Las Vegas native, she lives with her mom, dad, little brother, and Malcolm- the needy and greedy schnauzer. She’s been writing for five years about politics, various social issues, race, relationships, dating, and mental health. She is currently a top writer in the ‘Racism’ category on Medium! Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.