Bloomberg nabs three endorsements from Congressional Black Caucus amid stop and frisk controversy

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Democratic presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg nabbed the endorsements of three members of the Congressional Black Caucus on Wednesday, a day after taking fire over audio of the former New York City mayor praising the controversial stop-and-frisk police practice.

Bloomberg won the backing of Rep. Lucy McBath (D-Ga.), who represents a swing district, Del. Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands) and Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-N.Y.). Plaskett had previously endorsed Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) for president before she ended her White House bid. 

“I first met Mike when I was searching for ways to fight against the dangerous gun laws that ripped my son from my life,” McBath, who lost her son to gun violence, said in a statement circulated by Bloomberg’s campaign.

“Mike gave grieving mothers like me a way to stand up and fight back. Nobody running for president has done more for the gun violence prevention movement than Mike. I am proud to stand with him in this race, and work with him when he is in the White House to keep our communities safe,” she added, referring to Bloomberg’s efforts to boost pro-gun control activist groups.

The campaign also sent out a statement from Plaskett saying Bloomberg “not only has the policies to bring equality and wealth creation to communities of color and economic development to keep us competitive in the world, he’s not afraid to fight.”

The campaign later Wednesday morning added Meeks to the list.

“The most vulnerable communities in America cannot weather another four years of a Donald Trump presidency,” Meeks said in a statement. “Too much is on the line to allow that to happen. We need someone in the White House who will unite us behind the common purpose of rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure and driving our economy forward into the 21st century. Mike Bloomberg will do exactly that.”

The endorsements come the day after previously unsurfaced audio of Bloomberg discussing stop and frisk revived the controversy of his use of the practice during his time as mayor. 

Bloomberg can be heard in the clip defending the practice, which involved law enforcement questioning and searching people for weapons on the street. Studies have shown that the practice was ineffective in reducing crime and overwhelmingly targeted New Yorkers of color. 

“Ninety-five percent of your murders — murderers and murder victims — fit one M.O. You can just take the description, Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops,” he is heard saying in the unearthed video. “They are male, minorities, 16 to 25. That’s true in New York, it’s true in virtually every city.”

Both President Trump and his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, jumped on the clip Tuesday, saying it was evidence that Bloomberg was a “complete racist.” Tom Steyer, another billionaire Democratic presidential contender, also called the clip “extremely disturbing.” 

Bloomberg had apologized for stop and frisk before and admitted again Tuesday the practice was “overused.”

“By the time I left office, I cut it back by 95 percent, but I should’ve done it faster and sooner,” he said in a statement. “I regret that and I have apologized — and I have taken responsibility for taking too long to understand the impact it had on Black and Latino communities.” 

The renewed controversy over stop and frisk comes as Bloomberg makes gains with black voters. A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday found the former mayor surging to 22 percent among African Americans, appearing to take a chunk out of the support for former Vice President Joe Biden.

Updated at 10:30 a.m.

Tags Bloomberg campaign Brad Parscale Congressional Black Caucus Donald Trump endorsements Joe Biden Lucy McBath Michael Bloomberg Stacey Plaskett stop and frisk Tom Steyer
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