Michael Bloomberg, the former New York billionaire mayor who has run for president, has apologized for backing the city's "stop and search" policy.
Stop and review black and Latino residents disproportionately.
Speaking at an African-American church in Brooklyn, New York, Bloomberg said the policy was a mistake.
He believed that stopping and playing saved lives, he said, but accepted that good intentions were not good enough.
"I can't change history," he told the congregation at the Christian Cultural Center. "However, today I want you to know that I realized I was wrong and that I am sorry. But I also want you to know that I am more committed than ever to ending armed violence."
Bloomberg, who was Republican mayor of the city between 2002 and 2013, added that politics "eroded what we had worked so hard to build: trust."
"Trust between police and communities, trust between you and me," he said. "And the erosion of trust has bothered me deeply. And it still bothers me. And I want to get it back."
But the apology has been received with skepticism by many who believe the moment betrays a political motive.
Although he has not formally announced his candidacy, Bloomberg has indicated he could join the Democratic presidential race ahead of next year's elections.
Since the end of his term as mayor, Bloomberg has repeatedly advocated a policy of stopping and joking – including in January this year.