michael bloomberg
CNN  — 

Potential presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg said that he “can’t stand up here and tell you every decision I have made as mayor was perfect” and that his main goal as mayor was “saving lives” in remarks to civil rights leaders at the National Action Network on Monday. The former New York mayor, however, did not directly mention the controversial policing policy known as “stop and frisk” that he supported to fight crime as mayor – an issue that could impact his possible 2020 run for President.

Bloomberg, the former three-term mayor who is considering running for the Democratic nomination for President in 2020, looked to curb the city’s high crime and murder rate during his 12 years in office by empowering city police to more easily detain and question people. The policing approach, officially called “Stop, question and frisk,” sparked a backlash from activists throughout Bloomberg’s tenure as mayor because it overwhelmingly impacted African-American and Latino men. Critics called the measure racist.

Bloomberg’s support for the tactic will come under renewed scrutiny if he decides to run for president as a Democrat in 2020 and questions about his current views of the policy loom.

“I can’t stand up here and tell you every decision I have made as mayor was perfect,” Bloomberg said at the breakfast honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his first major public remarks as several fellow Democrats have already entered the 2020 race. “I listened to concerns, and I tried to be responsive. But I can tell you that we were always guided by the goal, first and foremost in all cases, of saving lives of those who faced the greatest risk of gun violence, young men of color, and by cutting murders in half I am glad to say some 1,600 people are alive today who otherwise would not be and most are young men from black and Hispanic communities.”

He added, “Thankfully, they were not killed simply for being at the wrong place at the wrong time. I can’t tell you their names, but I can tell you all across America, there are still far too many people who aren’t so lucky and still far too many politicians who don’t give a damn about them. … I am not going to accept that, and I hope you won’t either.”

The stop-and-frisk practice took place for much of Bloomberg’s administration, peaking at 203,500 stops