Toronto mayor has ‘no reason’ to resign over crack claims
Police say video ‘consistent’ with claims Rob Ford was seen smoking drug has been recovered
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford walks between two security guards before he responds to the Toronto police investigation dubbed “Project Brazen 2” to the media at City Hall in Toronto today. Photograph: Mark Blinch/Reuters.
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford today said he would not resign as head of Canada’s biggest city after police recovered a video showing images “consistent” with media reports he was smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine.
“I have no reason to resign,” Mr Ford told reporters outside his office today. “I wish I could come out and defend myself. Unfortunately I can’t because it’s before the courts.”
Mr Ford, 44, was in a video recovered on October 29th from a hard drive that had been seized in a drug investigation,
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said. “I think it’s fair to say the mayor does appear in that video,” Mr Blair told reporters today.
There isn’t enough evidence in the video to warrant criminal charges and police haven’t interviewed Mr Ford, he said.
The Toronto Star reported in May that they had seen a video that showed Ford smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine. US website Gawker was the first to report on the video and raised $200,000 in an unsuccessful attempt to buy it.
The mayor said in May he doesn’t smoke crack cocaine and said the video didn’t exist.
“As a citizen of Toronto I’m disappointed,” Mr Blair said. “This is a traumatic issue for the citizens of this city and for the reputation of this city.”
A 500-page police document filed in court was released today detailing “Project Brazen 2,” a surveillance operation in connection with the probe.
The document shows photos of multiple meetings between Mr Ford and Alexander Lisi, who police arrested this morning on charges of extortion, Mr Blair said.
Mr Lisi was arrested earlier this month on drug charges and then released. Mr Ford has said Mr Lisi was a friend.
“I’m quite shocked,” Paula Fletcher, a Toronto city councilor said on CP24 television. “This is unprecedented in the city of Toronto. I believe that up to this point many people have given the mayor the benefit of the doubt. With the chief’s press conference today, that day is probably done.”