“Well, the mark of an intelligent, competent person is when they make a mistake, they have the guts to stand up and say, ‘I made a mistake, I’m sorry,’ ” Bloomberg said.
King said she wasn’t questioning whether he believed he’d made a mistake, “but the timing that you realized you made the mistake.”
“Well, nobody asked me about it until I started running for president, so come on,” Bloomberg said.
It was a curious answer given the high-profile nature of the policy when it was an enacted, even leading to a federal judge ruling in 2013 that it was unconstitutional because it amounted to racial profiling. At the time, Bloomberg argued that “stop and frisk” had succeeded in reducing crime in the city.
As recently as October, weeks before Bloomberg announced he was entering the Democratic presidential primary, The Washington Post asked him about the policy and Bloomberg maintained that it had made the city safer.
“I came into a situation where an awful lot of people were killing an awful lot of other people. And it was all pretty much one community,” Bloomberg said. “And I just said we are going to do anything we can to stop the carnage. The first thing was stop the murders. And we brought down the incarceration rate in jails by a third, mostly minority kids. We brought down the murder rate by 50 percent, from 600 to 300 murders, and you know who would have been killed.”
King sought to clarify Bloomberg’s claim, asking him, “Are you saying to people that you realized you had made a mistake before, but you just didn’t mention it until now?”
“We were overzealous at the time to do it. Our intent was to do anything we could to stop the carnage, the murder rate. What was surprising is when we stopped doing a little bit, we thought crime would go up. It didn’t; it went down. Should have, would have and could have — in looking back, I can’t help that. In looking back, I made a mistake. I’m sorry. I apologize.”
Michael Scherer contributed to this report.