Michael Bloomberg, who supported the controversial police "stop and frisk" policy during his 12 years as mayor of New York City and was still defending it as recently as a few months ago, has had a change of heart. The Democrat, speaking at a black church in Brooklyn on Sunday, apologized for the policy, which was declared unconstitutional by a federal judge in 2013, and acknowledged that it had a disproportionate affect on minorities, the Guardian reports. "I can’t change history,” Bloomberg told the congregation. "However today, I want you to know that I realize back then I was wrong." Cynics suspect that Bloomberg's U-turn on the policy might be related to the 77-year-old's possible run for president.
"I was totally focused on saving lives, but as we know, good intentions aren’t good enough," Bloomberg said Sunday. Some 684,000 people were searched when the policy was at its peak in 2011, reports Reuters. Researchers found that black and Latino people were nine times more likely than whites to be searched—and while authorities said the searches were for weapons, people stopped and frisked were often arrested for possession of small amounts of drugs. "Forgive many of us for questioning apologies a decade late and on the eve of a presidential run," New York City public advocate Jumaane Williams tells the New York Times. "It is not nearly enough to erase the legacy of the systemic abuses of stop-question-and-frisk on the people whose lives were harmed by over-policing, nor the communities criminalized by it." (Read more Michael Bloomberg stories.)