By Michael Harriot, The Root
One of the most appalling statistics I’ve ever read about racial profiling comes from a 2012 New York Civil Liberties Union report on the NYPD’s racist “stop-and-frisk” policy. In 2011, the NYPD searched 168,126 young Black men (between the ages of 14 and 24). Depending on your knowledge of the relationship between crime, race, and population statistics, that might not sound alarming, until you realize one thing:
In 2011, the entire population of Black men in New York City was 158,406.
You read that correctly, the NYPD found a way to conduct unconstitutional searches on more Black men that there are in existence.
To be clear, it was unconstitutional. In October 2014, much to the dismay of stop-and-frisk’s biggest supporter, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a federal appeals court ordered the city overhaul its stop-and-frisk practices on the grounds that it discriminated against Black and Latinx citizens. Five years later, Bloomberg apologized for his role in overseeing a sevenfold increase in stop-and-frisk incidents.
On Wednesday, the former mayor and presidential candidate stopped by The View to pitch himself as an alternative to Donald Trump and Trump’s racist policies by lying his ass off (Don’t worry, he can afford a new one).
Confronted by host Sunny Hostin (who only got the job because ABC was looking to fill its diversity quota by hiring someone who actually knows things), Bloomberg attempted to whitesplain his way out of his racist policy by insisting he was looking out for Black people when he turned his police department into modern-day slavecatchers. (Seriously, why is Meghan McCain’s microphone set to the same volume as Sunny? Hostin is an award-winning former U.S. Attorney who prosecuted sex crimes and speaks two languages. Meghan McCain had a daddy.)
Hostin ran through the 600 percent increase in police stops of Black and Latino men who were almost always innocent, noting that Bloomberg was still defending the practice as late as January 2019, before he offered a dry, whole-wheat toast apology days before announcing his presidential candidacy.
“What happened between January and November that caused this change of heart?” Sunny asked, UnMcCainly. “Because it sounds like a political move to me.”
“When I got elected, I took a look; there were 650 murders a year in New York City,” replied Bloomberg. Most of them were young, minority men and I said: ‘We have to stop this. That’s where my heart is. That’s what I wanted to do. And I would do virtually anything I could…Anything the professionals gave me some advice to do.”
Then, Bloomberg reached into his reserves of Caucasian chicanery, pulled out a Ziploc bag of well-preserved bullshit and threw it in at a wall to see if it sticks:
And when I left office, [the number of homicides] was down to 300. So it saved a lot of lives. But during that period, in looking back, it certainly got out of hand and we stopped more… The courts had said we could do this that and the other thing.
The bottom line is, when I saw we had gone way overboard, I stopped it. And by the time I left office, we had cut 95 percent of it out. Then I apologized when enough people said to me that it was wrong and I wish I had done it earlier. I just didn’t. So you apologize and go on.
He’s lying, yall.
First of all, every available study by criminologists, sociologists, and data experts says there’s no data to support the claim that stopping random B0lack people reduces crime. To be fair, violent crime did decrease in New York City during Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor. But attributing it to stop-and-frisk is as wrong as Meghan McCain ascribing The View’s rise in ratings to the frequency of her wrong-as-fuckness (Seriously, why is she a thing? She’s the Chris Cillizza of talk show hosts.) In fact, the reason why stop-and-frisk didn’t reduce crime was precisely because it was applied in such an indiscriminately racist manner, based on cops’ implicit bias instead of actual data.
And Bloomberg is simply not telling the truth about ending the police-fueled racism when he saw that it was out of hand. In fact, when a judge first ruled that the law was unconstitutional, Bloomberg vowed to appeal and defiantly told the judge: “You’re not going to see any change in tactics overnight.”
And, according to the data, Bloomberg never cut out 95 percent of stop-and-frisks. The NYPD stopped more than 500,000 people every year until Bloomberg’s last year in office when the total number of stops dropped dramatically because…(please excuse me while I switch to all caps)…
A FEDERAL COURT MADE HIM STOP!
According to the court-ordered ACLU data, in Bloomberg’s last year as mayor, police stopped and frisked a higher percentage of Black people (56 percent) than at any time during his three terms. Eighty-eight percent of people who cops stopped in 2013 were eventually found to be innocent. And for five decades, despite the fact that constitutional experts, sociologists and every other person except Meghan McCain and Donald Trump said that stop-and-frisk was not only racist but useless, Michael Bloomberg continued to insist he was right and everyone else was wrong.
But perhaps his biggest lie is that he “apologized and move on.”
Is it really an apology if he not only refuses to show remorse but keeps insisting he did the right thing? That racism worked? That he achieved his goals? That the Black lives upended by his policies didn’t matter because he fucking said so?
Between 2014 and 2017, Black and Latino males between the ages of 14 and 24 were 38 percent of reported stops despite being five percent of the city’s population. Young Black and Latino males were innocent 80 percent of the time.
But Michael Bloomberg doesn’t care about that.
He’s a billionaire whose next big purchase is the presidency of the United States, and no one, especially the feelings of a bunch of innocent, violated negroes will stop him from getting what he wants. And even though he’s a goddamned liar who enacted racist policies that he refuses to apologize for, Michael Bloomberg would be a much better president from Donald Trump for one specific reason:
Because he fucking said so.
But, as the great sociologist and criminologist Cardi B once said:
“They do be lying, tho.”
This article originally appeared in The Root.