Bloomberg, Who Pushed Racial Profiling in Minority Neighborhoods, Opens Office in Little Havana

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Miami and help keep the future of New Times free.

Banking on a boost from Florida, Mike Bloomberg, former New York City mayor and current presidential hopeful, has opened three offices in the Sunshine State, with more expected to pop up ahead of the March 17 Democratic primary.

This past Saturday, Team Bloomberg held a grand opening for the campaign's new office in Little Havana. Former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz, who has been tapped as Bloomberg's campaign co-chair in Florida, was on hand to highlight the newfound proximity between the candidate and Miami's Hispanic community.

"The first office we announce here [in Miami] is in the middle of Little Havana," Diaz told Spanish-language TV reporters. "That speaks to the kind of person we're talking about."

But yesterday — a mere three days later, the internet got wind of newly unearthed audio of Bloomberg lauding the practice of racial profiling in minority neighborhoods not so different from Little Havana.

"People say, 'Oh my God, you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.' Yes, that's true," Bloomberg said in a 2015 speech. "Why? Because we put all the cops in minority neighborhoods. Yes, that's true. Why do we do it? Because that's where all the crime is."

Comments the candidate made in 2013, saying police "stop whites too much and minorities too little," also gained traction yesterday as #BloombergIsARacist began trending on Twitter.

The remarks drew swift condemnation from Bloomberg's fellow Democratic candidates, including former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and billionaire Tom Steyer. Even President Donald Trump got in on the act, deeming Bloomberg "a total racist" in a short-lived tweet.

The rereleased audio prompted yet another conversation about Bloomberg's troubled history with stop-and-frisk policies. Before announcing his 2020 presidential run last year, Bloomberg publicly apologized for his support of that approach to law enforcement, which he acknowledged had disproportionately affected black and Latino people. Yesterday, he appeared to double down on those sentiments of regret, even as he attempted to distance himself from the policies by maintaining that he "inherited" the widespread practice of stop-and-frisk.

As USA Today recently pointed out, the historically Cuban neighborhood of Little Havana is now a multicultural community of people from Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Contrary to popular belief, only one-third of Little Havana's current residents are of Cuban descent. That means the neighborhood looks a lot like Jackson Heights or Washington Heights — two primarily Latino neighborhoods in NYC where stop-and-frisk predominated during the Bloomberg era.

Now Bloomberg must rebrand himself as someone who will champion the needs of the same black and Latino voters he alienated during his time as New York City mayor. In a recent endorsement, Diaz — a longtime Bloomberg ally — wrote that the former mayor "has always been a true friend to the Hispanic/Latino community." However, that doesn't seem to be the case — and the candidate appears to be banking on the prospect that Latino voters in Florida will forgive or forget what really happened in New York.

Staff writer Alexi C. Cardona contributed to this report.

Keep Miami New Times Free... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Miami with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Miami.