Presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg said he implemented stop-and-frisk when he was mayor of New York City because he wanted to help people of color. The 77-year-old defended the policy when he appeared on ABC's The View on Wednesday.
Co-host Sunny Hostin initiated the conversation surrounding the controversial procedure by noting stop-and-frisk has disproportionately targeted Black and Latino men.
"Lets face it. It caused a 600% increase in police stops that disproportionately targeted Black and Latino men, 90% of whom were innocent,” Hostin said.
Bloomberg said there were 650 murders a year in New York City when he became elected as mayor and that most of them were young, minority men, so he believed stop-and-frisk was a way to solve the problem.
"I said: ‘We have to stop this.' That’s where my heart is," the former mayor said. "That’s what I wanted to do. And I would do virtually anything I could.”
Hostin pressed Bloomberg on the timing of his decision to eventually apologize for the policy.
“In January of that year, you stood up for stop-and-frisk. So What happened between January and November that caused this change of heart?” the host asked. “Because it sounds like a political move to me.”
The presidential candidate then said he apologized because he noticed the policy had gotten out of hand.
"It saved a lot of lives. But during that period, in looking back, it certainly got out of hand," he said. "When I saw we had gone way overboard, I stopped it. And by the time I left office, we had cut 95% of it out. Then I apologized when enough people said to me that it was wrong and I wish I had done it earlier."
According to The Washington Post, the stop-and-frisk has been widely used in the U.S. since 1968 when the Supreme Court ruled officers can stop and frisk a person if there is “reasonable suspicion” of a crime.
The policy was strictly enforced in Boston in 1989 during a manhunt for a Black man who Charles Stuart accused of killing his pregnant wife. Stuart's claim led to a massive hunt of Black men in which many of them were lined up and searched with their pants down, the Post reported.
Stuart jumped from a bridge and ended his life in 1990 after being named the prime suspect in his wife's death, finally ending the hoax.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, a recent study showed that Black men are now stopped left often when they're walking, but more frequently while driving. The study concludes that traffic stops increased by 70% from 2017 to 2018 and that many of them were Black people who were disproportionately stopped.
Watch the interview below: