'Arrest me,' Ford tells police chief in ongoing war of words
Andrea Janus, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, February 27, 2014 3:32PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, February 27, 2014 5:13PM EST
Mayor Rob Ford challenged Chief Bill Blair to arrest him Thursday, and refused to apologize for using profane language against Toronto’s top cop in a cellphone video captured earlier this year.
“If he’s going to arrest me, arrest me. I’ve done nothing wrong, and he’s wasted millions of dollars,” Ford told reporters at city hall.
“I want him to come clean and say how much money did it cost the taxpayers for surveillance on me and the planes that he had to rent."
Ford made the comments when he was asked by reporters if he had anything to say in response to remarks Blair made in an interview with CP24 on Wednesday. In that interview, Blair said he was “deeply offended” when he heard Ford use the word “c---sucker” before launching into a rant about the chief in a video uploaded to YouTube in January. The video was recorded at Steak Queen restaurant in Etobicoke, and showed Ford talking to friends in Jamaican patois.
"I don't respond to personal attacks, but don't confuse that with ‘I was OK with it,’” Blair said. “It was disgusting, it really was. It was disgusting.”
Ford said Thursday he will not apologize to Blair, and said Blair owes an apology to taxpayers for the money spent investigating him.
Police spent months tailing Ford and his former driver, Sandro Lisi, as part of an investigation known as Project Brazen 2. Lisi was arrested as part of that investigation and is currently facing an extortion charge over his alleged attempts to retrieve the video in which the mayor is allegedly seen smoking crack cocaine.
Police say that investigation is ongoing.
After Ford spoke, Coun. Doug Ford held court with reporters and accused the chief of being biased against his brother.
“You get offended six weeks, seven weeks after the fact?” Doug Ford said.
“Folks, this is nothing but the chief politicizing, getting involved in the political election (which is) against the police act. He’s speaking about something that’s in front of the courts, which is against the police act.”
Doug Ford was referring to other comments Blair made to CP24 Wednesday, in which he said that he knew ahead of time that a complaint was coming from the councillor over comments the chief made about the alleged crack video.
Last Halloween, Blair confirmed at a news conference that police were in possession of the video and said: “I think it’s fair to say that the mayor does appear in that video.”
Asked if he was shocked by it, Blair replied: “I’m disappointed.”
At the time, Doug Ford accused the police chief of being biased and filed a complaint. Blair told CP24 Wednesday that he “had pretty good anticipation” of the complaint due to comments Lisi made to police after his arrest.
“When we arrested Mr. Lisi, he indicated to us that this was going to happen, so we weren't surprised,” Blair said.
On Thursday, Doug Ford told reporters that he’s never met Lisi.
“And for him to come out and imply and accuse that there was going to be comments three days after his press conference, is disingenuous and I take great offence to that,” Ford said. “He got on his bully pulpit and tried to intimate and bully myself and my family based on a complaint.”
Doug Ford said Thursday that he will file another complaint with the Independent Police Review Director, asking that Blair be removed from any involvement in the investigation that led to Lisi’s arrest.
“Who is holding him accountable?” Ford asked.
“He has shown his bias against the mayor, it’s very clear, with this investigation.”
Blair is currently under investigation by the office for potential violation of the police act for his comments about the alleged crack video, based on Doug Ford’s original complaint.
Doug Ford also questioned why Blair went on a fishing trip two years ago with Police Services Board member Andy Pringle, who once served as chief of staff to current mayoral candidate John Tory when he was leader of the Progressive Conservatives.
“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.”
Ford called for Pringle to step down from his post.
In a statement issued late Thursday afternoon, Tory called the situation “a disgrace.”
“Torontonians deserve better. 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."