November 8, 2013

New video surfaces of ranting Toronto mayor threatening murder

The video, which Rob Ford admits is real, comes as the mayor is trying to weather a crack-cocaine scandal.

The Associated Press

TORONTO — A new video that surfaced Thursday showed Toronto Mayor Rob Ford threatening to "murder" someone and "poke his eyes out" in a rambling rage, deepening concerns among both critics and allies that he is no longer fit to lead Canada's largest city.

click image to enlarge

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford makes a statement to the media outside his office at Toronto's city hall after the release of a video on Thursday Nov. 7, 2013. A new video surfaced showing Ford in a rage, using threatening words including "kill" and "murder." Ford said he was “extremely, extremely inebriated" in the video, which appeared Thursday on the Toronto Star’s website. The context of the video is unknown and it's unclear who the target of Ford's wrath is.

AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young

TO WATCH the latest video of Mayor Rob Ford, click here. (Warning: Graphic Language).

Moments after the video was posted online, the mayor told reporters that he was "extremely, extremely inebriated" in it and "embarrassed" by it. The context of the video is unknown, and it's unclear who the target of Ford's wrath is. The video appeared at length on the Toronto Star's website.

City councilors moved ahead in efforts to force Ford out of office, although there is no clear legal path for doing so.

Ford's mother defended him later Thursday, saying she has advised him to work on his "huge weight problem," get a driver, put an alcohol detector in his car and watch the company he keeps. But she insisted that her son, who has acknowledged a drinking problem, did not need to enter rehab.

The controversy surrounding Ford escalated last week when police announced they had obtained a different, long-sought video that shows Ford smoking a crack pipe. After months of evading the question, Ford admitted Tuesday to smoking crack in a "drunken stupor" about a year ago.

Despite immense pressure, the mayor has refused to resign or take a leave of absence.

The 44-year-old Ford, who is married with two school-age children, said Thursday he made mistakes and "all I can do is reassure the people. I don't know what to say."

"It's extremely embarrassing. The whole world is going to see it," he said.

In the blurry, shaky new video, Ford paces around, frantically waves his arms and rolls up his sleeves as he says he'll "make sure" the unknown person is dead.

Ford tells another person in the room that he wants to "kill" someone. "Cause I'm going to kill that (expletive) guy," Ford says. "No holds barred, brother. He dies or I die."

At one point he says, "My brothers are, don't tell me we're liars, thieves, birds" and then later refers to "80-year-old birds."

The Toronto Star said that it bought the video for $5,000 from "a source who filmed it from someone else's computer." The newspaper said it was told "the person with the computer was there in the room."

City Councilor James Pasternak urged Ford to make a "dignified exit."

"The video is very disturbing," he said. "It's very upsetting, it's very sad."

But Ford lawyer Dennis Morris told The Associated Press the context of the video "is skeletal." ''Was it taken eight, 10 months ago or a short time ago?" he said.

Earlier Thursday, Morris said he was in talks with the police for Ford to view the video that appears show the mayor smoking crack. Morris said Ford would not answer questions.

Police obtained that video during a drug investigation into the mayor's friend and occasional driver, and they have said they are prohibited from releasing the video because it is evidence before the courts. Police have not charged Ford, saying the video doesn't provide enough evidence against him.

Municipal law makes no provision for the mayor's forced removal from office unless he's convicted and jailed for a criminal offence.

Ford, who grew up in a wealthy and politically influential family, was elected to City Hall three years ago on conservative support from Toronto's outer suburbs.

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