John Lott: Why Bloomberg’s 2015 ‘Stop and Frisk’ remarks are riddled with inaccuracies

With President Donald Trump threatening to make real inroads into the black vote, will Democrats dare to nominate a candidate who has made racially biased statements? It is one thing to say that minorities commit crime at relatively high rates compared to whites, but it is something quite different to falsely claim that minorities commit virtually all murders.

For a candidate who has already spent an astounding $350 million on his campaign -- more than all of his opponents combined -- it might be hard for his political opponents to get a word in edgewise. But, even as polls are showing that former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has the second-highest support among black Democrats, his past racial bias could still get him in trouble. 24 percent of Democratic primary voters are black.

“95 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,” said Bloomberg at an event in Aspen, Colorado in February 2015. “They are male, minorities, 16 to 25. That's true in New York. That's true in virtually every city…And the way you get the guns out of the kids’ hands is to throw them up against the wall and frisk them.”

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It is amazing that someone who oversaw law enforcement in New York City could really believe that virtually all murderers are young minorities. By tying this in with Stop and Frisk in the same answer, Bloomberg created racist overtones to that enforcement method. The most recent data at the time his comments were made from the 2013 FBI Uniform Crime Reports aren’t at all in line with Bloomberg’s 95 percent figure.

According to the FBI data, among murderers whose race we knew, almost 44 percent of murderers were white. Unfortunately, the FBI doesn’t break down the Hispanic murderers by race, but even if we assume all Hispanic murderers were white, about 23 percent of murderers were non-Hispanic whites. We don’t know the race of all murderers, but even if one assumes that all murderers whose race isn’t identified are minorities, about 31 percent of murderers were white.

If you were to xerox the description that Bloomberg gives, you are going to be falsely identifying a lot of minorities as criminals.

Bloomberg is no more accurate when it comes to the ages of murderers. It is true that young people were responsible for a disproportionate share of these crimes, but the numbers were nowhere close to what Bloomberg claims. Just over 28 percent of murderers were between 13 and 25 years of age. About 35 percent of 13 to 25-years-old murderers were white.

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It is too bad that Bloomberg has to tar the Stop and Frisk program with such over the top generalizations of who commits murder.

What Bloomberg also misses out on is that while there are good reasons to disarm criminals, poor minorities, the very people who are most likely victims of violent crime, are the ones who benefit the most from carrying concealed handguns. Bloomberg’s claim that you can just Xerox off a picture of young minority males and “throw them up against the walls” doesn’t distinguish between law-abiding blacks who want to protect themselves and the criminals.

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At the time when this recording originally surfaced in 2015, the media focused on Bloomberg’s opposition to marijuana legalization, not to his racial conversation. This could also be a liability among blacks, who are arrested for drug possession at much higher rates than other races.

President Trump’s moves on criminal justice reform, coupled with historically low minority unemployment rates, are already threatening to make inroads on minority voting. A Bloomberg nomination might make these inroads even greater and set the stage for a resounding electoral victory by Trump.

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