Former Mayor Rob Ford violated the council code of conduct in his use of racial slurs, a report by the city's integrity commissioner has found.
In July, Samuel Getachew, a 37-year-old Ethiopian-Canadian journalist, filed a complaint against Mr. Ford for racial slurs the mayor allegedly uttered in 2012 and 2014, according to media reports and former staff members in interviews with Toronto police. A report from the city's integrity commissioner, Valerie Jepson, this week says that Mr. Ford has since admitted to uttering the slurs, and intends to make a formal apology in city council.
"The statements and conduct of Mr. Ford were inappropriate. The conduct was not just inappropriate – it was abusive, harmful and agreed by society to be unacceptable," her report finds. "Considering the position he held at the time, his actions were egregious and wholly unbecoming of the Office of the Mayor."
When reached by phone, Mr. Ford's chief of staff Dan Jacobs declined to comment. "The integrity commissioner report specifically states what he intends on doing," Mr. Jacobs said.
Ms. Jepson's report describes a March, 2012, incident in which Mr. Ford hurled racial slurs at a taxi driver, and made "mocking fake language sounds," according to former staffer Isaac Ransom in an interview with police.
She also describes a March, 2014, incident described in a Toronto Star report in which Mr. Ford used derogatory language to describe members of the Italian and black communities.
Ms. Jepson said that the former mayor, now a councillor in Ward 2, "responded promptly to the complaint and accepted the underlying facts." She said that the councillor brought to her attention a public apology he had made in June of last year, the day he returned from rehab for substance abuse.
"I want to apologize, not just to the people of Toronto but to everyone who was hurt by my remarks and my actions," he said at the time.
But Ms. Jepson and Mr. Getachew agreed that a more "specific" response from Mr. Ford is necessary. As a result, the report says, the councillor intends on delivering a formal apology to city council.
"I'm very excited. It shows that the system works," Mr. Getachew said in an interview Thursday with The Globe.
"I wanted to tell people that they weren't second-class citizens. We weren't supposed to accept second-class citizenship in exchange for a barbecue," he said, referring to Mr. Ford's traditionally high level of support among the black community.
"I've seen lots of people who look like me go and hug him and compliment him and I was disappointed. I wanted more people to say 'no, what you're saying is wrong. Nobody should call us or me the N-word.' "
The former mayor is currently fighting a rare form of cancer. His office said Thursday that Mr. Ford is tentatively scheduled for surgery to remove the tumour on May 7, pending the results of a CT scan and an MRI.