In 2015 audio, Bloomberg advocates targeting minorities

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Newsweek said the audio clip of the speech was posted online by Benjamin Dixon. "They are male, minorities, 16-25".

The former NY mayor has distanced himself from the policy since launching his presidential campaign as part of a broader strategy aimed at appealing to minority voters, which are a key voting bloc for Democrats. And, that's where the real crime is.

"As he said hundreds of times, we need common-sense gun laws in Washington and policing focused on high-crime areas to stop them from getting killed", Loeser said in a statement to the outlet in 2015. You want to spend the money on a lot of cops in the streets.

"We put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. Yes".

In the audio, he acknowledges that focusing police forces in minority neighborhoods means minorities are disproportionately arrested for marijuana possession but dismisses that as a necessary outcome. Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. "And the way you should get the guns out of the kids" hands is throw them against the wall and frisk them", NPR reported. Yes that's true. Why'd we do it?

"These are clearly racist comments and are unacceptable".

Bloomberg was the mayor of New York City from 2002 to 2013.

In a statement today, Mr Bloomberg cited what he called his commitment to criminal justice reform and racial equity, adding: "In contrast, President Trump inherited a country marching towards greater equality and divided us with racist appeals and hateful rhetoric".

Critics pointed out that the Republican president has himself been a vocal supporter of stop-and-frisk policing and has previously been accused of racism.

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The "stop and frisk" policy encouraged police to stop and search pedestrians and targeted disproportionate numbers of African-American and Hispanic people.

Speaking at an African-American church in Brooklyn in November, Mr Bloomberg apologised for stop-and-frisk in NY, which disproportionately targeted black and Latino residents.

Bloomberg is not competing in the first four Democratic nomination contests but is mounting an expensive nationwide campaign ahead of the March primaries.

Tom Steyer, another Democratic presidential hopeful, said Bloomberg's comments were "deeply disturbing" and Symone Sanders, an adviser to Joe Biden's campaign, told Fox News the remarks were "sad and despicable".

How is the Bloomberg campaign doing?

A national poll from Quinnipiac University released on Monday showed the tycoon vaulting into third place out of the 11 remaining candidates. Much of Bloomberg's gains in the poll come at Biden's expense.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, a Bloomberg rival for the Democratic nomination, has long held an overwhelming advantage with African Americans, pointing to their support as his firewall that would provide him with a much-needed primary win in SC at the end of the month.

Who will take on Trump in 2020?

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