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Doug Ford: Police ‘got it wrong’ after charging campaign worker with assault

Toronto city councillor Doug Ford is scrummed by the media outside the mayor's city hall office on August 1 2014

Fred Lum/The Globe and Mail

Doug Ford says Toronto police "got it wrong" when they charged one of Rob Ford's campaign workers with assault after an altercation with a man who entered the mayor's Scarborough campaign office.

A man wearing a Rob Ford plastic mask entered the office at Warden and Lawrence avenues Wednesday afternoon. An altercation began inside and continued outside after the campaign worker removed the man from the office, police say.

William Byers, 60, the campaign worker, has been charged with assault, mischief and theft.

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Mr. Byers is alleged to have kicked a camera out of the hands of the masked man, Paul Benoit, 43, and punched him in the face, according to a police report. The two men continued to fight until they were stopped by people in the area, the report states.

The masked man, 43-year-old Paul Benoit from Oakville, describes himself as a citizen journalist and has posted several videos critical of the mayor.

Doug Ford said Mr. Benoit was asked to leave the campaign office twice before he returned a third time wearing a mask and "scared the heck out of everyone."

He "congratulated," Mr. Byers for "stepping up to the plate."

The campaign office has security video, which it has share with police, but the Etobicoke councillor said he has not viewed it.

"I love our police, but did they get it wrong this time? Absolutely they got it wrong," he said.

Rob Ford would not comment about the incident, but indicated that his lawyer, Dennis Morris, is on the case. "I support my campaign workers. They do a phenomenal job," Mayor Ford said of Mr. Byers Thursday. "If you're talking with respect to charges, that has to go through Dennis Morris."

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With files from Ann Hui

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