By Shawn Grant, The Grio
Former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is currently planning his Democratic presidential run and looking to get ahead of detractors by apologizing for his support of the “stop-and-frisk” strategy, employed by the New York Police Department.
The strategy was supported for a decade by Bloomberg and led to the harassment of numerous Black and Latino residents across the city.
In a speech, the first since expressing his interest as a presidential candidate, Bloomberg stated “I was wrong” and “I am sorry” to potential supporters.
Bloomberg went on to say he understands that he “can’t change history,” and “I apologize” to anyone that was wrongly stopped as a part of the policing efforts.
The New York Times cited the 77-year-old billionaire publicly backtracked on a component of his mayoral tenure that gained him the most notability.
The speech occurred at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn, a location considered to be one of the targeted communities, with largely African-American residents, for the controversial policing strategy.
CNBC detailed the tactic was enacted in 2002, the same year Bloomberg took over as mayor. In the “stop-and-frisk” strategy, the NYPD would target those who had reasonable suspicion of breaking the law. Results of the practice did lead to weapons being confiscated, but also a great number of innocent residents being stopped for no reason.
Prior to Sunday’s apology, Bloomberg was considered to be stubborn in his defense of the practice during his runs for mayor. He would also stand by the efforts during a 2013 court case, which ruled he violated the constitutional rights of minorities.
The apology from Bloomberg was stated to be an effort to regain the trust of Black and Latino communities.
The practices were found to be humiliating and degrading and were a central focus of Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s run for office.
This article originally appeared in The Grio.