Toronto police spoke to Mayor Ford’s senior staffer after tip linked killing to alleged drug video

The Globe and Mail

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks to media at City Hall on May 24, 2013. (Michelle Siu/The Canadian Press)

A senior member of Rob Ford’s office was interviewed by police last week about a tip linking a video allegedly showing the mayor smoking illicit drugs to a recent Toronto homicide, two separate sources have confirmed.

The staffer felt compelled to share the tip, which came to him from someone else in the mayor’s office, with police because it could constitute evidence in a homicide investigation.

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The staffer did not verify the credibility of the information.

Two officers interviewed the staffer away from City Hall, according to a source with knowledge of the meeting.

Staff Insp. Greg McLane, head of Toronto Police's homicide squad, confirmed to CP24 that an interview had taken place, but said that it didn't lead to a homicide investigation. Staff Insp. McLean said the interview was related to an "on-going investigation that is currently in the media," and said that homicide officers conducted the interview only because they have expertise that other officers don't.

The mayor has repeatedly denied the existence of a video. The mayor’s spokesperson did not respond to requests for comment on the story.

The tip came into the mayor’s office shortly after reports surfaced in the Toronto Star and on Gawker.com regarding the existence of a video allegedly showing Mr. Ford smoking crack cocaine.

The informant in the mayor’s office purported to know the address and unit number where the video was being held.

They went on to say that the video originally belonged to an individual who may have been killed for its potentially valuable contents, according to a source.

The video clip was allegedly offered for sale to the Star and Gawker by men involved in the drug trade, according to reports in both outlets. Gawker is trying to raise $200,000 for the video through an online campaign.

Both media reports were accompanied by a photo, provided by the men selling the video, that allegedly shows Mr. Ford standing with a man believed to be Anthony Smith, a 21-year-old man gunned down in downtown Toronto in March.

Mr. Ford broke a seven-day silence about the allegations on Friday. “I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I an addict of crack cocaine,” he said in a speech at City Hall. “As for a video, I cannot comment on a video that I have never seen or does not exist.”

On Sunday, he was more unequivocal about the video’s existence, telling a caller to his weekly radio show, “There’s no video, so you can’t comment on something that doesn’t exist.”