Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said Thursday that Democratic presidential candidate and businessman Michael Bloomberg is "just a billionaire trying to cover up authoritarian and racist policy" if he does not commit to providing relief to those ensnared by the racist stop and frisk policy he supported as mayor of New York City.
"Will people get their records expunged? Will young people sucked into the spiderweb of incarceration get their lives back?" Ocasio-Cortez asked on Twitter in response to a Bloomberg article about its owner's efforts to "move past" his record on stop and frisk, which has received renewed scrutiny in recent days.
"Unless there is restorative justice, there is no 'moving on' from stop and frisk," added Ocasio-Cortez, who endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders in the 2020 Democratic presidential race.
New York City is about 60% people of color.
Stop and Frisk was an unconstitutional, devastating practice for the entire city that intentionally exempted White people from harm.
It was one of the most racist policies I’ve ever lived through that deeply impacted the entire city.
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) February 13, 2020
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Ocasio-Cortez's comments came days after progressive radio host Benjamin Dixon posted to Twitter an audio clip of a 2015 speech in which Bloomberg defended stop and frisk as necessary and dismissed its harms as "unintended consequences."
Share this far and wide. Unless the mainstream media picks it up, it will be isolated to twitter. pic.twitter.com/Fm0YCi4ZRy
— Benjamin Dixon (@BenjaminPDixon) February 11, 2020
After the clip went viral, Bloomberg issued a statement distancing himself from his past comments on stop and frisk.
"This issue and my comments about it do not reflect my commitment to criminal justice reform and racial equity," said Bloomberg.
Ocasio-Cortez told reporters Wednesday that she found Bloomberg's statement woefully inadequate.
"I think quite a few things happened under him as mayor," said Ocasio-Cortez. "Frankly, we all know 'stop and frisk'—that was my family, and that was my community, and that was my neighborhood, and we know this was a policy that decimated a lot of families."