Fact Check: Biden Accuses Bloomberg of Throwing 5 Million Black Men ‘Up Against the Wall’

CLAIM: Former Vice President Joe Biden accused Michael Bloomberg of supporting a policing strategy as mayor of New York City that used stop-and-frisk on more than five million black men.

VERDICT: True. Nearly five million individuals, primarily young men of color, were stop-and-frisked during Bloomberg’s tenure in city hall.

Biden, who has seen his presidential hopes falter with Bloomberg’s rise in the polls, made the claim at the ninth Democrat presidential debate in Nevada on Wednesday.

“The mayor says he has a great record. The fact of the matter is, he has not managed his city very well,” Biden said. “He didn’t get a whole lot done; he had stop-and-frisk throwing close to five million young black men up against the wall.”

The claim is accurate. As the Annenberg Public Policy Center noted recently, there were nearly five million stop-and-frisks between the 12 years (2002 through 2013) that Bloomberg was in office. Stop-and-frisks increased nearly 600 percent during Bloomberg’s tenure, reaching a peak of more than 685,000 individuals in 2011. The majority of those stops were young men between the ages of 15 and 25, as Bloomberg, himself, has admitted.

“It’s controversial, but … 95 percent of your murders, and murderers, and murder victims fit one [description],” Bloomberg said in a recently resurfaced audio from 2015. “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.”


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