Defiant Ford not sorry for police chief rant
TORONTO - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford and his city councillor brother went on an offensive Thursday against the city's police chief, accusing him of a politically motivated campaign against the mayor.
In separate news conferences the Ford brothers each suggested that Chief Bill Blair has it in for their family.
The mayor challenged Blair to publicly detail the cost of a long-standing police investigation into Ford's activities, sparked by media reports of a video appearing to show the mayor smoking crack cocaine.
"Why won't he come clean and tell the taxpayers how much money has he spent on surveilling me and obviously coming up with nothing — coming up with me urinating in a parking lot? Coming up with an empty vodka bottle?" Ford said.
Ford's friend Alexander Lisi was charged in that investigation with drug offences. He was later also charged with extortion, allegedly in relation to the so-called crack video.
"If he's going to arrest me, arrest me. I have done nothing wrong," Ford said.
Ford refused to apologize for a profane rant against Blair, caught on video, a day after the chief gave several interviews in which he said he was "deeply offended" by the remarks.
"It was disgusting," Blair told CP24 on Wednesday.
"It's shameful to have my name even associated to such behaviour.''
Blair's comments appear to have reignited a Ford firestorm against him that began in the fall when the chief expressed disappointment after announcing police had found the so-called crack video.
On Thursday, Ford said he and his family are the ones who are offended by the police investigation, which involved, at times, surveillance using an airplane.
"How about chasing me around for five months, using taxpayers' money, trying to embarrass me, trying to politicize things," Ford said.
"This is embarrassing."
Minutes after the mayor's rant against Blair his brother emerged to give his own thoughts to a crowd of reporters.
Coun. Doug Ford suggested that Blair, police services board member Andy Pringle and the mayor's main election rival John Tory are in cahoots.
"Andy Pringle, the chief and John Tory are all good buddies and I find it very, very suspicious in my opinion that all the dots are finally connecting as I said they would."
Doug Ford previously complained about a fishing trip Blair and Pringle took and said Thursday he would launch a new complaint to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director.
"I guess the police chief believes he's above the law here, that he's not accountable to anyone," said Doug Ford, who is also acting as his brother's mayoral campaign manager.
"He got on his bully pulpit and trying to intimidate and bully myself, our family, based on our (previous) complaint...Imagine if the police chief was after your family. Imagine if he was after you. Who's holding him accountable?"
Tory, days after he launched a campaign that he said would focus on positive ideas, issued a statement Thursday afternoon calling the Fords' comments a "disgrace."
"Torontonians deserve better," Tory wrote.
"While mayors across Canada are focused on building transit and attracting jobs, Doug and Rob Ford are focused on fighting the police chief. I am proud to support the chief. Today's behaviour underscores why we need new leadership at city hall."
Another mayoral candidate, former city councillor and budget chief David Soknacki, weighed in with a cheeky online poster referring to downtown Toronto's police division.
"Never heard of me?" it reads. "Neither has 52 division."