Police in Toronto have recovered footage of Mayor Rob Ford apparently smoking from a crack pipe, according to court documents. The existence of the recording had not been officially confirmed until Thursday, but since the footage was previously reported in the media, it has made Ford the subject of widespread mockery. Toronto’s police chief, Bill Blair, said that the video did not provide evidence for criminal charges against the mayor, but that it “depicts images that are consistent with those previously reported in the press.”
“As a citizen of Toronto I’m disappointed. This is a traumatic issue for citizens of this city and the reputation of this city,” Blair said, according to the Associated Press.
The details about the video were revealed when a judge ordered several hundred pages of documents released Thursday. The documents describe an extensive investigation by police of Ford and his associates:
The documents show that Mr. Ford appears multiple times in police surveillance of Alexander (Sandro) Lisi, his close friend and occasional driver.
The revelations are contained in police documents related to Mr. Lisi’s arrest that were released Thursday morning. The information, which is partially redacted, sheds light on links between Mr. Lisi and the mayor.
The affidavit, referred to as an Information to Obtain (ITO), is the result of an investigation, dubbed Brazen 2, that reached all the way to the mayor’s office and sent reverberations throughout the city’s corridors of power.
The information contained in the 480-page document, which investigators wrote to obtain search warrants in their case against Mr. Lisi, has not been proven in court. Taken as a whole, the ITO details numerous meetings and exchanges between the mayor and Mr. Lisi, who police refer to as a drug dealer in the document.
On June 26, for instance, police allege that Mr. Lisi met the mayor at a soccer game in Centennial Park. After speaking for a few minutes, Mr. Lisi retrieved a white plastic bag from his Range Rover loaded with unknown items and some cans of Minute Maid, and left them on the center console of Mr. Ford’s Cadillac.
On July 11, Mr. Lisi met with Rob Ford at the Esso Gas Station near Mr. Ford’s home. Mr. Lisi placed a manila envelope in the passenger side of Mr. Ford’s Cadillac while the mayor was inside the Esso. The meeting was observed by surveillance officers and caught on the gas station’s security cameras.
In addition to their many meetings, the ITO outlines a flurry of phone communication between the two men. Between Aug. 7 and Sept. 19, the mayor and Mr. Lisi contacted one another 349 times by phone.
Much of the investigation focuses on 15 Windsor Road, a crack house in Toronto where Ford was photographed, The Toronto Star reported:
Police generated a “timeline of Rob Ford related information” during their investigation. In this heavily redacted section, it said: “On April 9, police surveilled 15 Windsor, believed to be a crack house. Looked like drug trafficking going on ... “No known persons observed.” No arrests that day. . . .
The documents said: “Confidential source tells police Det. Const. Clarke that 15 Windsor Drive (sic) is a ‘trap’ house. The house belongs to a couple of crack heads but Dixon guys go there often to ‘chop’ crack or just hang out and get drunk.
“The source advises that they have seen the following people at this address: Liban Siyad, Abdhullahi, Monir Kassim, Ahmed Dirie, Anthony Smith.”
From March 18 to June 24, Lisi had phone conversations with Ford and two of the mayor’s special assistants — Thomas Beyer and Chris Fickel, according to the documents.
On the same phone, Lisi also spoke with Fabio Basso, who lives at 15 Windsor Rd.
The phone records also showed Lisi had contact with Liban Siyad, an alleged member of the Dixon City Bloods arrested during the Project Traveller raids.
Kassim was also arrested during Project Traveller on weapons and drugs charges. Smith was shot dead on March 27. Khattak, who was injured in the Smith shooting, was arrested during Project Traveller.
The Star, along with Gawker, originally reported on a video in which Ford appears, “obviously impaired, smoking what appears to be crack cocaine and making homophobic and racist slurs.” The mayor has maintained that he does not use crack.