TORONTO – Mayor Rob Ford refused to resign Thursday, several hours after Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair acknowledged that he was in possession of a video of the mayor.
The video contains “images consistent with those that had been previously reported in the press,” Blair told reporters at a morning press conference. It was found on a hard drive seized during the Project Traveller raids and recovered on Tuesday.
“It’s safe to say the mayor does appear in the video,” Chief Blair said Thursday.
Here’s what happened today:
8:45 AM – Mayor Rob Ford heads to city hall.
Members of Toronto’s media had been waiting outside of the mayor’s Etobicoke home Thursday hoping to ask him his opinion on the soon-to-be released documents. But he refused to answer any questions and instead shouted at photographers and reporters to get off his driveway. He pushed a photographer while demanding he leave his property. The mayor then got into his Cadillac Escalade and left.
10:05 AM – The documents are released
Early Thursday morning, hundreds of pages were released focusing on the relationship between Mayor Rob Ford and his friend Alexander “Sandro” Lisi.
None of the statements in the documents have been proven in court.
Read more: Complete coverage of the Rob Ford story
The documents are heavily redacted but detail dozens of conversations between the two friends, and meetings at Esso Stations and parking lots in the city. In one instance, the CCTV camera inside the gas station captured images of the mayor and Lisi with packages. It’s unclear what was in the packages.
You can see the full document, including the dozens of redacted pages here.
The documents also show dozens of phone calls made by Lisi on May 16 the day Gawker and The Toronto Star reported on a video allegedly showing the mayor smoking what could be crack cocaine.
The first call Lisi made that day was to the mayor, according to the documents.
Worried he was being followed, Mayor Rob Ford attempted to use his position to get information a regular citizen wouldn’t have access to, police documents state.
“I believe that the above attempts by Provost to obtain registration details for Mayor Ford clearly indicate that Mayor Ford is utilizing his position and the powers of the Office of the Mayor, to obtain information not available to regular citizens,” reads a note in the court documents, apparently written by homicide detective Nader Khoshbooi.
Shortly after the release of the documents, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair announced that his officers seized a hard drive during June’s Project Traveller raids. Inside that hard drive police were able to recover a video.
Though police admit to having a video of the mayor, it hasn’t been released publicly and Blair would not describe what was in the video, apart from confirming the mayor’s involvement.
After Blair made his announcement, Toronto residents and spectators across the country reacted on social media.
Several city councillors suggested Ford spoke publicly after the Blair announcement.
Councillor Gloria Lindsay-Luby said “It’s not a game anymore. This is real life and it’s real people who are involved.”
And her colleague, Paula Fletcher suggested “it does appear the mayor has been acting to look after himself.”
2:30 PM – Mayor Rob Ford addresses the city
The mayor made the comments Thursday afternoon as a throng of reporters waited outside of his office. He refused to answer any of the questions being shouted at him by reporters and instead said he couldn’t comment on a case before the courts.
3:30 PM – Editorials calling for the mayor to step down
The Toronto Sun published an editorial Thursday afternoon entitled “Ford must step down.”
“Torontonians have a right to expect a higher standard of conduct from their mayor than that he is not charged with any crimes,” the editorial reads. “They have a right to expect him to be honest with them.”
That editorial was followed by opinons in both The Globe and Mail and The Toronto Star making similar demands that the mayor step down.
“Enough. After all the evasions, all the nonsense, all the denials, this should be the end of the road for Mayor Rob Ford,” Marcus Gee wrote in the Globe and Mail.
“Mayor Rob Ford has no place left to hide. No way to excuse or deny that he was caught on video allegedly smoking crack cocaine. A copy of the footage he claimed didn’t exist is now in the possession of Toronto police.”
The National Post too published an editorial in which they declare in the headline “For the good of Toronto, Rob Ford must step aside.”
“But it is clear that Mr. Ford’s personal life is now so thoroughly beset by crisis that the people of Toronto cannot count on him to fairly represent them and to give his duties the time and consideration they require,” the editorial reads. “Mr. Ford must step aside until this matter is fully resolved.”
© Shaw Media, 2013