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Police describe Toronto mayor crack tape
Toronto • Toronto police say that a video first reported on by media nearly a year ago shows Mayor Rob Ford apparently holding a glass cylinder and a lighter while smoking crack cocaine, according to court documents released by a judge Wednesday.
Ford, who is seeking re-election despite the drug scandal engulfing him, acknowledged last year after months of denials that he smoked crack in a "drunken stupor" after police said they obtained the video, which has never been released to the public. News reports of the crack video's existence first surfaced last May, igniting a media firestorm around Ford. He careened from one scandal to another, becoming a figure of international notoriety and a national embarrassment for many Canadians.
The description of the video is the first official description by police. Reporters from The Toronto Star and the U.S. website Gawker had previously reported its contents.
"Mayor Ford is holding what appears to be a glass cylinder in one hand and a lighter in the other hand while engaged in conversation with individual(s) off camera," the documents state.
"At one point Mayor Ford holds the glass cylinder to his mouth. Lights the lighter and applies the flame to the tip of the glass cylinder in a circular motion. After several seconds Mayor Ford appears to inhale."
The video appears to have been filmed surreptitiously showing Ford "consuming what appears to be a narcotic while inside a residence," according to the documents.
Ford inhales before he notices a recording device, then "briefly points at the camera and asks if it's on," the documents states.
The mayor of Canada's largest city has rebuffed pressure to resign since admitting to smoking crack. The Toronto City Council stripped him of most of his powers in an effort to isolate him, but it lacked the authority to force him out.
Ford is not facing criminal charges but police said the investigation continues.
The documents also note that meetings between Ford and his friend and former driver, Alexander Lisi, are "indicative to that of drug trafficking" and that the two have been in constant contact during the investigation. Lisi is facing extortion charges over attempts to retrieve the video from an alleged gang member.
Police also describe how alleged gang member Mohamed Siad boasts about catching the "mayor smoking crack" in a video. Police allege the video was recorded on Feb. 17, 2013, at 7:57 PM.
Five videos in total were found on the computer of Siad, police say in the court documents. Police believe Siad, one of dozens of people charged in a separate weapons and gang investigation, was trying to sell the crack video. The documents say the first four videos were failed attempts to video Ford.
Ford declined to answer questions Wednesday while pushing by reporters while walking and then running to his office at City Hall.
Olivia Chow, who is running to replace Ford in the October election, said the ongoing revelations about Ford show "why he is no role model for our children. Our city is tired of the distractions and needs a new mayor."