Michael Bloomberg says he wishes he apologized for stop-and-frisk sooner

The former New York City mayor addresses the controversial stop-and-frisk policy in the city.
5:04 | 01/15/20

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Transcript for Michael Bloomberg says he wishes he apologized for stop-and-frisk sooner
but I like the fact that you're a billionaire who believes in your own mortality. You see these people with so much money saying, well, I have to have more. Do you really think you're going to live forever? You're not. So what are you going to do with all those billions and billions of dollars? And you said that you would spend as much as $1 billion of your money, which is a lot of Shekels, I'll tell you right now, that's a lot of money, to back whoever it is. First of all, Bernie may not take your money. Elizabeth may take it. They don't want your money, they don't have to take it. Of all the democratic candidates, some I don't agree with on lots of different things, but comparing them to the binary choice, any of those democratic candidates or Donald Trump, I go with the Democrat. Absolutely, no matter who it is. Yes. One more question about that before we wrap it up, how would you spend the money? Would you spend it on the ground game? Will you help people get to the polls and register? We have in virtually every state a ground operation. Some of these people work in them. We have offices, ten offices through Texas and five offices through Georgia or whatever it is, and you have people on the ground that go and try to get people to come to rallies. Judge Judy. Judge Judy. She's about the best that you can find. She's wonderful. I spent the whole day with her on a bus and it was a lot of fun. Would have the main offices, maybe not all of them, most of them stay open and work on candidates up and down the ballot. Uh-huh, I see. Good for you. Amazing. I like a lot of what you have said and what you've stood for and a lot of my very good friends have worked for you and speak very kindly of you. But there are some things -- I'm very happy with the company and the foundation. I'm proud of what we do. Yeah, yeah, you do good work. Not everybody's happy all the time. You can't please everybody, but we're open, we're honest, we're inclusive. Sometimes I make wrong decisions but if I do, I try to change them back and say I'm sorry and listen to people who have ideas. I want to talk to you about that because one of the things that has concerned me about you is in November, just a week before your presidential campaign announcement, you apologized for your signature stop and frisk policy. Yep. And let's face it, it caused 600 increase in police stops that disproportionately targeted black and Latino men. Yes. 90% of whom were innocent. We're talking about 14 stops out of 10,000 only produced a gun, okay. Many questioned the authenticity of that policy, mayor Bloomberg, myself included, only because in January of that year you stood up for stop and frisk. So what happened between January and November that caused this change of heart? Because it sounds like a political move to me. Look, when I got elected I took a look, there were 650 murders a year in New York City, most of them were young minority men. And I said we just have to stop this. That's where my heart is. That's what I wanted to do, and I would do virtually anything I could, anything that professionals gave me some advice to do to stop that. And when I left office it was down to 300, so it saved a lot of lives, but during that period, in looking back, it certainly got out of hand and we stopped more. You're never going to have everybody that you stop with a gun, we don't know, but the courts said you can do this, that or the other thing. The bottom line is when I saw it was -- we had gone way overboard, I stopped it and before I left office we cut 95% of it out. Then I apologized when enough people said to me you were wrong and I thought about it, and I wish I had done it earlier. I just didn't. So you apologize and go on. But in my heart of hearts I try to do things that make this country better, and I reduced the incarceration rate for young kids. I reduced the recidivism rate for young people. We started a program that Barack Obama copied with his young men's initiative, his was brother's keeper to try to give people better opportunities and help them, guide them through the tough periods in life when you're going up through teenage years where a lot of these kids were. I focused on the public schools. I gave a 43% raise to the teachers because I wanted good results, and it turns out that that was a great thing. Our graduation rate went up about the same percentage, but everything I did was to try to help the kids, no matter what their ethnicity is, that needed help in New York City. That's the job of a mayor. It isn't just to go cut ribbons and have a ceremonial thing. In some things I did it wrong. I apologized and tried to do something else.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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