ASPEN, Colo. – Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is taking heat over remarks he made about minorities and gun control at a recent event in Aspen, and attempts by his staff to keep video of the conversation private.
The local Summit Daily reports the three-term mayor’s staffers requested that video footage of Bloomberg’s remarks to a packed house at The Aspen Institute event Feb. 5 go unpublished, and organizers plan to comply.
“We basically honor the wishes of our speakers and Mayor Bloomberg preferred that we not use the video for broadcast,” Jim Spiegelman, spokesman for the Institute, told the news site.
“He did not give a reason nor did he have any reason to ask for one. We often feature speakers who prefer that their presentations not be videotaped,” he said.
John Masters, executive director of GrassRoots – the organization that filmed the event, said he’s only encountered a similar situation twice in the thousands of events he’s filmed.
“We’re not pleased about it,” Masters told Summit Daily. “We wish that people who could not make it (to the Institute) and could not afford to be there — they should be able to participate in that information also. … It’s not very often that this happens. Occasionally somebody says something, and they just don’t want it out in public, and that’s a prerogative of whoever we’re collaborating with.”
An audio recording of Bloomberg’s comments was posted on YouTube by The Daily Caller this week.
“It’s controversial, but first thing is all of your — 95 percent of your murders, and murderers, and murder victims fit one MO. You can just take the description, Xerox it, and pass it out to all of the cops. They are male, minorities, 15 to 25. That’s true in New York, it’s true in virtually every city in America,” Bloomberg told about 400 people in Aspen.
“You have to get the guns out of the hands of the people that are getting killed. First thing you need to do is … keep them alive.”
He elaborated further.
“The kids think they’re getting killed anyways because all of their friends are getting killed,” Bloomberg said. “So they just don’t have any long-term focus or anything. It’s a joke to have a gun, it’s a joke to pull the trigger.”
“It’s all the same group. Nobody in New York gets murdered – if you get murdered the first thing you want to do is (ask) ‘what were you selling or who are your family members.’ Because it just has to be you’re a drug dealer or you (unintelligible) a family quarrel. There’s just no other kind of murder whatsoever,” he said.
Bloomberg went on to tout his ability to bring down the murder rate and take guns off the streets, and defended the tactics employed by police, such as the controversial “stop and frisk” practice, used to get the job done.
“So one of the unintended consequences is, people say ‘Oh, my God you are arresting kids for marijuana that are all minorities.’
“Yes, that’s true. Why? Because we put all the cops in the minority neighborhoods. Yes that’s true, why do we do it? Because that’s where all the crime is. And the first thing you can do for people is to stop them getting killed,” Bloomberg said.
He also discussed the positive support he received from the black community for his policies, recalling a particular instance in Harlem when a Baptist minister invited him to speak.
“While I’m sitting there waiting for him to introduce me, he said to his congregation, ‘You know, if every one of you stopped and risked your kid before they went out at night, the mayor wouldn’t have to do it,’” Bloomberg said, according to Summit Daily.
Tom King, president of the New York State Rifle & Pistol Association described Bloomberg’s comments “slander” and likened the remarks to those of a white supremacist, according to The Washington Times.
“Mayor Bloomberg’s statement that black males should not be allowed to have guns echos similar sentiments made by southern white supremacists in the 19th century,” King said. “So called ‘Black Codes’ were enacted by various southern states to discriminate against black Americans and maintain the system of white supremacy that made slavery possible. These included restrictions on firearms possession.
“If a politician said this about anything other than guns, the mainstream media would be all over them,” Mr. King argued. “Michael Bloomberg isn’t just any politician, he is the leading voice for gun control in America. He should be held accountable for this slander.”
According to Summit Daily:
Bloomberg’s appearance in Aspen came shortly after New York began its 11-day streak without an investigated murder, a record for a city that saw its crime rate drop drastically during the mayor’s three terms. According to city statistics, the murder count was 649 in 2001, just before Bloomberg won his seat, and decreased to about 330 in 2013 when he left office.