Toronto Police revealed Thursday they have obtained an often-rumored video that shows Mayor Rob Ford apparently smoking crack. Ford didn’t comment in detail but said he would not resign.
In a news conference, Police Chief Bill Blair said at least one of two videos deleted from a hard drive — recovered while investigating a friend who was arrested and charged with extortion — includes images of Ford “that are consistent with what has previously been reported.” In May, the Toronto Star and Gawker reported they were approached with mobile footage of the mayor smoking crack cocaine from a glass pipe. Two Star reporters claimed to have been shown the video, but it hasn’t been released publicly. Ford has repeatedly denied the charge and the video’s existence.
“As a citizen of Toronto I’m disappointed,” said Blair. “This is a traumatic issue for citizens of this city and the reputation of this city.” He added that although the video will emerge when Alexander “Sandro” Lisi, Ford’s friend and sometimes-driver, goes on trial for drug and extortion charges, the video wouldn’t provide grounds to press charges against the mayor.
As Blair spoke, reporters in Toronto were poring through hundreds of police documents (below) just released by an Ontario judge in regard to extensive surveillance of Lisi. The Globe and Mail reports police witnessed Ford meeting with Lisi, an accused drug dealer, more than 100 times over the past few months. Police made clear the investigation began after the allegations in May.
Ford briefly spoke with reporters gathered outside his office on Thursday afternoon. “I think everyone has seen these allegations against me today. I wish I could come out and defend myself,” he said. “Unfortunately, I can’t, because it’s before the courts and that’s all I can say right now… I have no reason to resign.”