NEW YORK — "The apology is too little, too late," Patrick Lynch, President of the Police Benevolent Association, said in response to former Mayor Michael Bloomberg's public apology Sunday for the "stop and frisk" police tactic.
"Mayor Bloomberg could have saved himself this apology if he had just listened to the police officers on the street," the police union president said in a statement Sunday. "We said in the early 2000s that the quota-driven emphasis on street stops was polluting the relationship between cops and our communities," the statement continues.
"His administration's misguided policy inspired an anti-police movement that has made cops the target of hatred and violence, and stripped away many of the tools we had used to keep New Yorkers safe," Lynch claimed in the statement.
Earlier Sunday, Bloomberg reversed his longstanding support of the controversial police strategy while addressing the congregation at Christian Cultural Center, a black church in the East New York neighborhood in Brooklyn.
Bloomberg admitted Sunday that the practice often led to the disproportionate detaining of blacks and Latinos. He added that he “can’t change history” but now realizes “I was wrong.”
If anyone was wrongly stopped by police, “I apologize,” he said.
Watch Bloomberg's full reflection on "stop and frisk" below:
Bloomberg’s reversal is a notable recognition of the power and importance of black voters in the Democratic Party and the fact that his record on stop-and-frisk could be one of his biggest vulnerabilities should he launch a White House run.
The stop-and-frisk practice gave police wide authority to detain people they suspected of committing a crime. Bloomberg aggressively pursued the tactic when he first took over as mayor in 2002.
Mayor Bill de Blasio made ending stop-and-frisk a centerpiece of his first run for office.
Bloomberg told the congregation Sunday that he wants to earn back the trust of black and Latino communities.