Bloomberg: Stop and frisk comments in 2015 'not the way that I think'

Democratic presidential candidate Michael BloombergMichael BloombergFormer Bloomberg staffer seeks class-action lawsuit over layoffs Bloomberg spent over 0M on presidential campaign The Hill's Campaign Report: Officials in spotlight over coronavirus response MORE said controversial remarks he made in 2015 about stop and frisk are not indicative of the way he thinks or the way he led New York City during his tenure as mayor.

Bloomberg was pressed at a campaign event in Chattanooga, Tenn., Wednesday as to why he said in 2015 that the practice was a way to curb crime by throwing minority kids "up against the walls" and frisking them. Bloomberg added in the resurfaced audio that "95 percent" of "murders and murderers and murder victims" are male minorities between the ages of 16 to 25. 

"I don't think those words reflect what, how I led the most diverse city in the nation. And I apologized for the practice and the pain that it caused," Bloomberg said when asked by a reporter about the remarks. 

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"It was five years ago," he added when pressed again. "And, you know, it's just not the way that I think and it ... doesn't reflect what I do every day. I led the most populous, largest city in the United States and got reelected three times, the public seemed to like what I do."

Bloomberg, who is waging a White House campaign backed by his personal fortune, has grappled with a days-long effort to contain the fallout from the controversy as he tries to gin up support for his presidential bid. Studies have shown that the police practice was ineffective in reducing crime and overwhelmingly targeted New Yorkers of color.

Both President TrumpDonald John TrumpIllinois governor says state has gotten 10 percent of medical equipments it's requested Biden leads Trump by 6 points in national poll Tesla offers ventilators free of cost to hospitals, Musk says MORE and his campaign manager, Brad ParscaleBradley (Brad) James ParscaleMORE, jumped on the resurfaced audio Tuesday, saying it was evidence that Bloomberg was a “complete racist.”

Tom SteyerTom SteyerProgressive advocates propose T 'green stimulus' plan Candidates want data privacy rules, except for their own campaigns Budowsky: Biden should pull together a 'dream team of rivals' MORE, another billionaire 2020 contender, also called the clip “extremely disturbing.” 

“By the time I left office, I cut it back by 95%, but I should've done it faster and sooner," Bloomberg said in a statement this week. "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."