TORONTO – A video of Mayor Rob Ford smoking what appears to be “a narcotic” was found on the laptop of an alleged gang member, who also apparently filmed himself describing how to “catch a mayor smoking crack,” police allege.
A detailed description of the so-called crack video is part of a document, released Wednesday by an Ontario Superior Court judge, containing police allegations used to obtain search warrants in an ongoing investigation involving Ford.
“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,” police describe.
“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 vapour which is produced, then exhale the vapour.”
The document contains police allegations not proven in court.
The video appears to have been filmed surreptitiously at 7:57 p.m. on Feb. 17, 2013 — showing Ford “consuming what appears to be a narcotic while inside a residence,” police allege. It was Sunday of a long Family Day weekend in Ontario.
Ford has admitted smoking crack cocaine, likely in one of his “drunken stupors,” but has said he hasn’t seen the video. Ford has urged police to release it and he has also dared the chief to arrest him.
Police offered Ford — through his lawyer — an opportunity to watch the video, on the condition he not comment on the video or discuss it with anyone, but he declined, police say in the newly released document.
Ford refused to comment Wednesday, but his lawyer, Dennis Morris, said the police offer was “baloney.”
“We weren’t interested in that. If you want to show the video, show the world,” he told The Canadian Press. “Don’t show it to me and the mayor and say, ‘You can’t discuss it.’ That’s absurd. It makes no sense.”
Morris called the release of the documents a “continued waste” of taxpayers’ money.
“No one could say what’s in the pipe,” he said in an interview.
Morris also said he is convinced police will find a way to release the video anonymously just before the Oct. 27 municipal election, which will determine if Ford gets to stay in the mayor’s office.
“They’re doing everything they can to hurt the mayoral campaign and they don’t have any charges, so the only bullet they have in the gun is this video,” he said.
“The police are relentless in their pursuit of the mayor. They want to just throw more crap onto the wall hoping something will stick.”
Toronto police spokesman Mark Pugash called Morris’ assertions “disgraceful and completely irresponsible.”
“He should be ashamed of himself,” Pugash said. “Any information that has been released has been released by the courts.”
Five videos in total were found on the computer of Mohamed Siad, police say in the court document.
Police believe Siad, one of dozens of people charged in the Project Traveller drugs, weapons and gang investigation, was trying to sell the so-called crack video, previously released documents indicate.
Three seem to be failed attempts to record Ford leading up to the full video, and finally there is a video of someone who appears to be Siad filming himself “giving a short narrative of what was just captured,” police say in the document.
“Siad advises that to record someone secretly you should aim the camera towards that person and they won’t know what you’re doing as your (sic) just playing with your phone,” police write.
“He then advises that’s how you would catch a person slipping. He then goes on to say ‘Or even catch a mayor smoking crack.’”
Based on the sequential file numbers of the videos, police believe there is one missing, possibly filmed in the 20 minutes between the time stamps of the so-called crack video and the Siad video. They indicate in the document they have not yet been able to recover it.
At one point on the video, police also allege they hear Ford say the name Liban.
Ford’s friend Alexander Lisi is facing a charge of extortion in relation to the video, as police allege he threatened both Siad and a man named Liban Siyad, who was also charged in Project Traveller.
A previously released police document alleges Ford’s cellphone went missing on April 20, the same night Siyad was told by another man to go to a house on Windsor Road because Ford was there and wanted drugs.
Police say in the court document that Lisi arranged for the phone’s return from Siyad and gave him drugs in exchange.
The house on Windsor Road is the residence of the Basso family and police believe it is used as a “crack house,” according to the document.
Police believe that Siyad, Siad and Elena Basso — who has a long criminal record including drug possession and trafficking — were present during the recording of what’s now known as the crack video.
Basso was interviewed by police on Nov. 8 and said she did not recognize the names or photographs of Siyad and Siad, police say in the document.
But police also say in the document that Siyad and Basso have been intercepted talking about the video and Siad’s involvement in selling it.
Phone records in the police report show Lisi exchanged several calls with Siad, Siyad, a member of the Basso family and the mayor after reports of the video were published on May 16.
The document released Wednesday shows police sought Ford’s phone records from Feb. 17 to May 26, in part because of an intercepted conversation they believe “shows that Mayor Ford may have tried to purchase the video.”
Police believe they overheard people on wiretaps during a gang investigation saying Ford offered $5,000 and a car in exchange for a video, according to a previously released document.
Media lawyers, who successfully argued Wednesday for the release of the document, dated Jan. 14, will be back in court March 28 to argue for the release of another document, dated March 7.
With files from Colin Perkel