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Toronto police have obtained mayor Rob Ford's alleged crack video
Toronto police have obtained a video of mayor Rob Ford which they say "is consistent" with previous media reports – a reference to the video that allegedly shows Ford smoking crack cocaine, which was reportedly seen by Gawker and the Toronto Star months ago.
"We have recovered a digital video file, which is consistent with that which had previously been described in various media reports, and that file forms part of the evidence of the charge that we have laid today," said police chief Bill Blair. Toronto police have laid extortion chargers on Ford's friend and driver Alexander Lisi.
"I think it's fair to say that the mayor does appear in that video, but I'm not going to get into the detail of what activity is depicted on that video," Blair said.
The Toronto chief said he was "disappointed" with the video's contents and confirmed its existence, but added there was not enough evidence in it to charge Ford.
"There is nothing on that video that would support the laying of criminal charges," said Blair.
Twitter turned into Thursday's personal letter forum with thousands of 140-or-less-character'd messages directed at Ford, many of them urging the mayor to step down – to retire.
Ford responded in the afternoon, saying, "I have no reason to resign."
"I wish I could come out and defend myself," he said outside of Toronto's city hall. "Unfortunately I can't because it's before the courts. That's all I can say."
Gawker was quick to cover Thursday's news, publishing under the headline "The Rob Ford Crack Tape is Real, and the Police Have It".
(The story was written by Max Read, not John Cook. Cook was the first to report the story in May.)
Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson told CBC Thursday's news surrounding Ford's tape was "a big distraction".
"We need to be focusing on priorities that make a difference for everyone who we represent," Robertson said. "And the personal misgivings are really unfortunate when it's all about that. It's not good for democracy. It's not good for the community."
*VIDEO: Toronto police chief Bill Blair on today's video tape announcement...