*Michael Bloomberg was one of several Democratic presidential candidates in Alabama over the weekend pandering for African American votes at a black church. But unlike the others, some members of the congregation stood up and turned their backs on the former NYC mayor in protest of his past support of NYPD’s “stop and frisk” policies.
About eight congregants turned away from Bloomberg during his address at Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma. He and the other presidential candidates were in town after being invited to speak during the city’s Jubilee, an annual event marking “Bloody Sunday” when hundreds of protesters were beaten while marching across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in 1965. According to USA TODAY, Bloomberg’s protesters “stood for about 30 seconds before he realized what was happening. He paused, then stumbled over his words before picking back up with his speech.”
One of the protesters, Ryan Haygood, told the paper, “I was sitting there really wrestling with the fact that 55 years ago 600 or more people assembled at this church and they prayed and prepared to be brutalized by Alabama state troopers about a half a mile up the bridge. Then comes Michael Bloomberg who when he was the mayor of New York City presided over those very kinds of police brutality practices and policies. So in my mind, I thought, though I was surprised to see him come through the doors, I thought he would use this space to atone for that.“
Watch videos of the protest below:
A group of churchgoers turned their backs in protest as Democratic presidential hopeful Michael Bloomberg spoke about racial inequality during a service at the historic Brown Chapel AME Church in Selma, Alabama https://t.co/hmi7slRJSa pic.twitter.com/aqegJllPac
— Reuters (@Reuters) March 1, 2020