The brother of Toronto’s embattled Mayor Rob Ford on Tuesday called for the city’s police chief to step aside over his handling of a video allegedly showing the mayor smoking crack.
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair announced last week that investigators have gotten hold of the infamous video as part of an investigation of a Ford friend.
During a press conference on Thursday, Blair confirmed that the mayor appeared in the video and added that he was “disappointed.”
In an escalation of an ensuing feud between the mayor and the police chief, Ford’s brother Doug, who is also a Toronto city councillor, told local radio station AM640 that Blair “needs to step down…” temporarily.
“In my opinion, with the chief’s comments the other day, we have the most political police chief I’ve ever seen. The police chief believes he’s the judge, the jury and the executioner,” he later told a televised press conference.
“It’s unacceptable, his comments,” he said. “He’s definitely stepped over the line.”
“The chief shouldn’t have come out and made the comments while he was wearing the police chief’s uniform, about his personal opinions about the mayor.”
Doug Ford’s rebuke of the police chief comes after a public dispute emerged on Monday when Blair disinvited Ford to an annual police fundraising gala.
The 90-second clip at the center of the scandal had caused an uproar since its existence was first reported in May.
The daily Toronto Star and American gossip website Gawker said they had seen the footage, which reportedly showed a man resembling Ford lolling back in a chair in a room, inhaling from what appeared to be a glass crack pipe.
But after Gawker raised more than $200,000 in an online campaign to buy the video, it said it was told by its unnamed source that the video was “gone.”
Last Thursday, Blair said police technicians had salvaged the deleted video and other data from a hard drive seized in an investigation of the mayor’s longtime friend Alexander Lisi for extortion, related to Lisi’s attempts to recover the video.
Ford has since apologized for “mistakes” but steadfastly denied the drug allegations, rebuffed calls for his resignation and vowed to run for re-election next year.
He and his lawyer meanwhile have called on police to release the video, but Blair declined, saying it was evidence in a criminal case now before the courts.
“I’m not going to respond to any personal attacks. We’re going to continue to do our job,” Blair added.