TORONTO — Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford apologized for unspecified “mistakes” Sunday but said he won’t resign in the face of a report that investigators have recovered video that purportedly shows him smoking a crack pipe.
“Friends, I’m the first one to admit I am not perfect. I have made mistakes. I have made mistakes, and all I can do right now is apologize for the mistakes,” Ford said during an appearance on Toronto radio station CFRB.
“I want to move forward, but I also know to move forward I have to make changes in my life, which I can assure you that I will do,” he added. “I love the work I do, and I’m going to keep doing it.”
Toronto Police Chief William Blair disclosed the existence of the video Thursday. It was recovered from deleted files on a computer hard drive that was seized during a drug and gang investigation, according to a 465-page police report.
Earlier this year, allegations surfaced in two media outlets that Ford was recorded on video last winter using crack cocaine. Blair provided no details, but said it “depicts images with what has previously been reported.”
Ford has repeatedly denied using crack and has not been charged with any crime. On Sunday, he called on Blair “to release this video for every single person in the city to see.”
“That is the right thing to do, and Chief, I’m asking you to release this video now,” Ford said. “Whatever this video shows, folks, Toronto residents deserve to see it, and people need to judge for themselves what they see on this video.”
Ford was elected to a four-year term in 2010 and has touted tax cuts and streamlined government under his administration. He told listeners that he wanted to finish his term and let voters decide whether they want to keep him in 2014.
“Unfortunately, I cannot change the past. I can just move forward and learn from the past, which I assure you I am doing,” he said.
In May, the website Gawker and the Toronto Star newspaper published stories saying their reporters had seen 90 seconds of a cell phone video showing the 44-year-old Ford, as the Star described it, “inhaling from what appears to be a glass crack pipe.”
Later in the video — as described by the Star — an “incoherent” man both the Star and Gawker claimed to be Ford ranted about a number of subjects. The video, which has never been released publicly, shows a “clearly impaired mayor,” two reporters who say they saw the video wrote in the Star.
The lengthy police report includes hundreds of redacted pages. It states that police sources believe the photo of Ford that first surfaced in May is taken in front of a “trap” house used to “chop” crack.
Police documents also detail evidence used to obtain a search warrant for a man suspected of drug trafficking, Alexander (Sandro) Lisi, who police say is the mayor’s friend as well as his driver. Photos collected by police show Ford and Lisi together on a number of occasions, including attending a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey game, according to the documents.
Lisi was arrested Thursday and charged with extortion, according to a police statement. He is accused of using extortion to retrieve a recording, it said.
Blair said a digital video in police custody will be shown in court in an effort to support the charge against Lisi, who was released after a bail hearing Friday, his lawyer, Seth Weinstein, said.
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