Toronto police have recovered a video of Mayor Rob Ford showing images “consistent” with media reports that he was seen smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine.
“I think it’s fair to say the mayor does appear in that video,” Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair told reporters in the city today. There isn’t enough evidence in the video to warrant criminal charges and police haven’t interviewed Ford, he said.
The Toronto Star reported on May 16 they had seen a video that showed Ford smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine. U.S. 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.
A message left at the mayor’s office wasn’t immediately returned. He did not answer questions put to him by reporters outside his home this morning, according to video footage posted on the Toronto Star’s website.
“As a citizen of Toronto I’m disappointed,” Blair said. “This is a traumatic issue for the citizens of this city and for the reputation of this city,” he said.
Police recovered the video Oct. 29 from a hard drive seized during a June 13 drug probe in the city, said Blair. 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 Ford and Alexander Lisi, who police arrested this morning on charges of extortion, Blair said. Lisi was arrested earlier this month on drug charges and released.
Rob Ford has said Lisi was a friend of his.
“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.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Gerrit De Vynck in Toronto at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scanlan at email@example.com