Mayor Rob Ford won’t resign though police have alleged crack video

Mayor Rob Ford said he has “no reason to resign” after Toronto police chief Bill Blair said Thursday that police have recovered the video at the centre of crack allegations involving the mayor.

During a news conference Thursday morning, Blair announced that a video was recovered that is “consistent with those images that were previously reported in the press.”

The Toronto Star and the U.S. website Gawker reported in May this year that they viewed a video that appeared to show the mayor smoking out of a crack pipe.

Ford briefly stepped out of his office Thursday afternoon to address a wall of reporters.

“I wish I could come out and defend myself,” he said. “Unfortunately, I can’t because it’s before the courts.”

No charges have been laid against Ford.

Earlier, city councillors demanded the mayor resign if the allegations surrounding the video mentioned in Blair’s news conference turn out to be true.

“You can run, but you can’t hide,” Coun. Gloria Lindsay Luby said. “And he’s still running.”

The video is part of a collection of evidence that the computer technology section of Toronto Police’s Service Intelligence Unit recovered from a raid in July.

There were several video files, but two in particular were relevant to the investigation, Blair said.

The evidence recovered will be presented in court in relation to charges laid against Ford’s friend and driver, Alexander Sandro Lisi.

Lisi, 35, was arrested Oct. 1 and charged with trafficking and possession of marijuana before his release on bail.

He was arrested again Thursday and charged with extortion.

The digital video, along with other recovered files will be turned over to prosecutors to be used as evidence for his trial, Blair said.

When asked for his thoughts on the video, Blair said, “As a citizen of Toronto, I am disappointed because I know that this is a traumatic issue for the citizens of this city and the reputation of this city,” he said.

Investigators will continue to review the evidence to determine if they will lay additional charges in the next few days.

The court released part of a 474-page document that provides some of the evidence relating to Lisi’s arrest.

It contains several police surveillance photos and personal descriptions from the detectives conducting the investigation.

The document reveals Toronto police using ground and aerial surveillance and gathering evidence from CCTV footage, GPS vehicle tracking devices and phone records.

It contains months’ worth of detailed surveillance reports of meetings between Lisi and Ford. It also logs 349 phone calls between the two that date back to March 18 to June 25.

Several interviews from former Ford staffers, including former chief of staff Mark Towhey and former staffer Chris Fickle, are also included.

Lawyers representing different news outlets went to court on Monday to demand the release of the court documents.

On Wednesday, Mr. Justice Ian Nordheimer of the Ontario Superior Court agreed to a partial release that blacked out about half of the document. He said details involving innocent third-parties were removed.

Media lawyers planned to submit arguments for the release of the blacked out sections.


BREAKING NEWS BROADCAST: Ryersonian TV Police recover alleged Rob Ford crack video

Reactions to Blair’s announcement from city hall and Ryerson students

Earlier: Our live blog from Blair’s press conference

LOOK: The Ryersonian reacts to Blair’s announcement

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