The Toronto Police detective investigating Rob Ford is seeking greater co-operation with a family who was violently attacked last year after news broke of the video that allegedly shows the Toronto Mayor smoking crack cocaine.
Detective Sergeant Gary Giroux said the residents of 15 Windsor Road – an Etobicoke bungalow which served as the backdrop for an infamous photo of Mr. Ford with a murdered man and two alleged drug dealers – have assisted police "to a certain extent."
"I think the major hurdle for us is the fact that there's been so much media attention surrounding their home that they're a little bit timid in relation to even some of our approaches," said Det. Sgt. Giroux, who spoke to reporters after an unrelated case was in court on Thursday.
"And so as a result of that, I would still like to do more with the residents of that particular home but at this point they have lawyers and we go through them in relation to what their clients want to do."
Det. Sgt. Giroux's comments appear to link his investigation into the mayor and the mayor's office, which is known as Project Brazen 2, with the probe into the unsolved home invasion at 15 Windsor Rd. last spring. Police have previously described the address as a "crack house."
Five days after news of a video apparently showing Mr. Ford smoking crack cocaine came to light last spring, several members of the Basso family, who have owned 15 Windsor Rd. since 1976, were attacked after an intruder burst into their home.
Asked whether police have suspects in the May 21 home invasion, Det. Sgt. Giroux said: "Nothing I can comment on."
The photo of Mr. Ford taken outside the Basso residence was supplied to Gawker and the Toronto Star by unnamed drug dealers who also claimed to have obtained the video. Mr. Ford has been friends with Fabio Basso, one of the residents, since their teenage years.
Det. Sgt. Giroux, a homicide investigator who is the lead detective on Brazen 2, said he still wants to speak with the mayor, who has denied police requests. Mr. Ford's lawyer, Dennis Morris, has said the mayor has nothing to gain by providing a statement to investigators.
Brazen 2, which Det. Sgt. Giroux said is still active, has so far resulted in charges against the mayor's friend, alleged drug dealer Alessandro Lisi. Mr. Lisi faces an extortion charge involving alleged attempts to retrieve the crack video.
Toronto Police continued attempts to seize cellphones and a computer late last year in an investigation related to Mr. Ford and Mr. Lisi. Police applied for search warrants on Nov. 29 for seven cellphones and one computer from Project Traveller, a drug-and-gang investigation that centred on an Etobicoke housing complex and led to Project Brazen 2.
Det. Sgt. Giroux would not comment on the warrants: "That's all still part of an ongoing and active investigation."