I’m thinking former New York City mayor and new presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg must not have gotten the memo that Democratic candidates are supposed to be wooing the black vote. Either that or he just forgot, apparently, along with his entire stance on his city’s handling of the Central Park Five.
Because, on Monday, this man really stood up there at his campaign event in Montgomery, Ala.—home of one of the most well known civil rights boycotts in U.S. history—and failed miserably at addressing his administrations past defense of a civil rights atrocity that happened in his own city.
A reporter from CBS questioned Bloomberg about his opinion and praise of city prosecutors and the NYPD “acted in good faith” and whether or not he feels differently now that Antron McCray, Kevin Richardson, Yusef Salaam, Raymond Santana, and Korey Wise have since become “The Exonerated Five.”
“I really have no idea,” Bloomberg said. “I’ve read in the paper, I’ve been away from government for a long time. So apparently, the courts have ruled that they did not commit it, commit a crime, and that’s the final word and we just have to accept that. It isn’t a question of what anybody believes.”
No, sir. We have to accept that our current Commander-in-chief is a 73-year-old toddler. We have to accept that raisins will always be a staple in wypipo potato salad. We have to accept the last season of Game of Thrones. But the exoneration and release of five teenagers turned adults who were wrongly convicted of a heinous crime is not a thing to be merely accepted, it’s a thing to be celebrated and to learn from.
After being further pressed on the issue, Bloomberg continued, “There was an awful lot of evidence presented at that time that they were involved. There’s been questions since then about the quality of that evidence. And so it’s, I’ve been away from it for so long, I just really can’t respond because I just don’t remember.” He then concluded, “There’s been plenty written about it and I suggest you go and read some of that. Next question...”
That’s right, Bloomberg really told the reporter to go Google it.
As reported by CBS:
All five men had their convictions vacated in 2002. During the Bloomberg administration, they filed a civil rights lawsuit against New York City, alleging malicious prosecution, racial discrimination and emotional distress. The Bloomberg administration spent nearly $6 million fighting the case over a decade, arguing that the authorities at the time had good cause and acted in good faith.
In 2014, less than a year after Bloomberg left office, New York City and the Central Park Five agreed to a $41 million settlement. Under the terms of the agreement, the city continued to maintain there was no wrongdoing by police or prosecutors in the case.
Considering this sordid past of his, which includes his pushing of “stop and frisk” policy as mayor, a thing he finally apologized for in November (completely unrelated to his decision to run for president, I’m sure), you would think he’d make it a point to do a better job showing contrition. I guess that’s just too much to ask of someone who is asking for our votes and our confidence in his ability to lead.
I suppose He figured at least didn’t respond like President Donald Trump who, as recently as 2016, still held the belief that the CP5 were guilty, saying to a CNN reporter, “The police doing the original investigation say they were guilty. The fact that that case was settled with so much evidence against them is outrageous. And the woman, so badly injured, will never be the same.”
Of course, “do better than Trump” is obviously a low bar.