The father of one of the men charged in the slaying of Anthony Smith said he believes his son is not connected to an alleged video that appears to show Toronto Mayor Rob Ford smoking crack cocaine.
Abdulkadir Mohamed spoke at Old City Hall on Friday after his son Hanad Mohamed, 23, made a brief court appearance via video link from the Toronto East Detention Centre. Defence lawyer Fariborz Davoudi has not yet received disclosure from the Crown. The next court date is scheduled for July 26.
Mr. Mohamed was arrested last month in Fort McMurray, Alta., where he worked as a security guard at an oil-sands work camp. He and co-accused Nisar Hashimi face charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder after Mr. Smith, 21, was killed and his friend Mohammed Khattak, 19, was injured in a shooting outside a downtown Toronto night club in March.
Mr. Khattak was one of dozens of people arrested last week in police raids that targeted a violent gang operating at a cluster of condo towers on Dixon Road in north Toronto. The gang, known as the Dixon City Bloods, also had tentacles in Windsor and Edmonton and are accused of trading guns, cocaine and marijuana.
On Thursday, police said they are still looking to arrest eight people in connection with their year-long operation called Project Traveller. Their investigation is ongoing.
Toronto police allege Mr. Khattak was a member of the Dixon City Bloods. The 19-year-old, Mr. Smith and another friend were photographed standing next to the Toronto mayor in a photo that was provided to the Toronto Star and Gawker, an American gossip website, in May by drug dealers seeking to sell a video of Mr. Ford. The video, which has not surfaced publicly, allegedly shows the mayor smoking from a glass pipe used to inhale crack cocaine.
The third man in the photo is Monir Kasim, according to a source who knows Mr. Kasim and Mr. Khattak. Mr. Kasim, who lives in one of the Dixon Road towers, was also arrested in the police raids. He is accused of being part of a gang and trafficking cocaine and weapons.
Mr. Mohamed’s father said his son has no connection to the gang and maintained his son is innocent in the death of Mr. Smith and attempted murder of Mr. Khattak. He said his son has spent the bulk of the past four years working in Alberta and had nothing to do with the video linked to the mayor.
“My son and that video, there is no connection. He was not in Toronto. He was in Fort Mac,” an emotional Abdulkadir Mohamed said outside the courtroom as several relatives and family friends stood nearby. “All I can tell you is Hanad is working and he is not a criminal ... and he never did anything.”
The alleged cellphone video, which has not surfaced publicly, appears to show the mayor smoking from a glass pipe used to inhale crack cocaine.
Sources familiar with the investigation say detectives obtained search warrants for Mr. Mohamed's cellphone and residences. Those search warrants have been sealed from the media.