Bloomberg Is Popular With African Americans Because He's Out There 'Shaking Hands and Frisking Babies,' Jokes Colbert

The Late Show host Stephen Colbert zinged billionaire 2020 candidate Mike Bloomberg over stop-and-frisk on Thursday night.

Colbert noted a recent Politico article about a Quinnipiac University poll that put Bloomberg in second place among black voters in the Democratic race after a sharp rise in support.

The comedian then played on the recent stop-and-frisk furor around Bloomberg's past comments in support of the controversial policing policy.

"Now that sounds surprising, but Bloomberg has been out there in the African American community shaking hands and frisking babies," Colbert said. "It's true, it's true. I checked the diaper."

Comments made by Bloomberg in 2013 and 2015 about the use of stop-and-frisk resurfaced on social media this week.

A federal judge ruled several years ago that the policy, heavily used under Bloomberg's two terms as New York mayor, was unconstitutional.

Civil rights campaigners argued it unfairly and disproportionately targeted minority groups in such a way that it infringed on their constitutional rights.

Academic research suggests the policy had little or no impact on reducing crime rates. Bloomberg apologized in 2019 for stop-and-frisk, admitting it was wrong.

But the resurfaced comments show the strength of feeling Bloomberg had about stop-and-frisk but before and after he left office.

"They just keep saying it's a disproportionate percentage of a particular ethnic group," Bloomberg said in a 2013 interview with WOR.

"That may be, but it's not a disproportionate percentage of those who witnesses and victims describe as committing the murder.

"In that case incidentally, I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little."

During a 2015 talk at the Aspen Institute, Bloomberg reiterated that "95 percent of your murders and murderers and murder victims fit one M.O."

"You can just take the description and Xerox it and pass it out to all the cops. They are male minorities 15 to 25," Bloomberg said.

"That's true in New York, that's true in virtually every city in America. And that's where the real crime is."

The 2020 candidate also said that he "put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods" because "that's where all the crime is," adding that in order to get "guns out of the kids' hands is to throw them up against a wall and frisk 'em."

In a statement after the backlash, Bloomberg said stop-and-frisk was "overused" on his watch.

"I inherited the police practice of stop-and-frisk, and as part of our effort to stop gun violence it was overused," Bloomberg said.

"By the time I left office, I cut it back by 95 percent, but I should've done it faster and sooner. 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.

"But this issue and my comments about it do not reflect my commitment to criminal justice reform and racial equity. I believe we need to end mass incarceration and during my tenure we reduced incarceration by 40 percent and juvenile confinement by more than 60 percent."

During his monologue on Thursday, Colbert also compared Bloomberg to President Donald Trump during his monologue, highlighting their "questionable history with women."

"Bloomberg has been rising in the polls. There could be some hurdles for his campaign," Colbert said.

"In the past he's been accused in several lawsuits of creating an uncomfortable workplace environment for women but he won't release women who sued him from their nondisclosure agreements.

"Oh good, yet another New York billionaire with a questionable history with women. Next we're going to find out about his sons Meric and Bloom Jr."

Multiple women have accused Trump of sexual harassment or assault and the president's own "grab 'em by the pussy" comments are infamous.

Bloomberg was accused in several workplace lawsuits dating back to the 1990s of making sexist or crude comments about women.

Some of Bloomberg's accusers signed nondisclosure agreements as part of settlement packages. But Bloomberg is resisting pressure to release those women from the agreements.

"We don't have anything to hide, but we made legal agreements which both sides wanted to keep certain things from coming out," Bloomberg said on ABC's The View back in January when questioned about the issue.

"They have a right to do that. But remember, just because you signed a nondisclosure doesn't mean you can't talk about other things. You just can't talk about what was in that agreement...But you don't take away anybody's rights to say what they want to say.

They can continue to do that. They just made an agreement and the company made an agreement that we wouldn't discuss a certain thing."

Mike Bloomberg 2020 Trump stop frisk Colbert
Democratic presidential candidate former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg delivers remarks during a campaign rally on February 12, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. Brett Carlsen/Getty Images
Bloomberg Is Popular With African Americans Because He's Out There 'Shaking Hands and Frisking Babies,' Jokes Colbert | Politics