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Media shoved, punched after Rob Ford’s press conference

NOTE: This story has been updated to include new information and video regarding events after the mayor’s press conference.

TORONTO – Members of the media were shoved and punched by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford’s security following his afternoon press conference

The incident occurred after the mayor’s brief press conference where he apologized for graphic remarks made Thursday morning when he denied reports he made lewd comments to a female aide last year. The Mayor was accompanied by his wife.

Global News reporter Jackson Proskow said when the press conference ended, Ford’s security team gave the more than 50 reporters less than 40 seconds to clear out. It was not possible to empty the space in such a short time, but the Mayor’s security team plunged right into the crowd with the Mayor in tow.

Video: Global News cameraman punched by member of Mayor’s security

Global News has learned that the mayor himself made the decision to charge through the crowd of reporters, even though his staff advised him against it and he could have used the back door.  Cameraman Doug Gamey was punched in the stomach by a member of Ford’s security detail as the mayor was being escorted out. The punch was captured on video from various angles shot by several media outlets. Gamey was not injured during the incident.

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Global News senior Vice President of News and Station Operations, Troy Reeb, condemned the assault in the strongest terms.

“A veteran camera operator was among members of the media invited to the mayor’s office for a press conference.  He had both arms raised above his head, holding his video camera, when he was subject to an unprovoked assault by a member of the mayor’s staff. We expect Mayor Ford to provide a full explanation and an apology to our journalist.”

Ford’s security guard and driver, Jerry Agyemang, who threw the punch at Gamey, was hired to drive the mayor approximately two weeks ago at the request of Norm Kelly and the mayor’s executive committee. Global News has learned that Agyemang has now been reassigned by city hall.

As a result of Thursday’s incident, there are other changes being implemented at city hall. The mayor’s office has been told they will no longer be allowed to hold press conferences in the members’ lounge that was the scene of today’s incidents. Mayor Ford will have to use larger areas – such as the council chambers – that allow for more people and room for journalists and their equipment.

Another camera person was also shoved hard by a city hall security guard shortly after the press conference.

Video: Mayor’s security pushes cameraperson

Video: Video of the scene following the press conference posted by YouTube user Alex Broad

The mayor held the press conference to apologize for “graphic remarks” he had made earlier in the day about allegations contained within unredacted police documents released to the media Wednesday.

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None of the allegations in the documents have been proven in court.

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