Monday, July 27, 2015

OPP now overseeing Ford probe

TORONTO—Ontario’s provincial police now is overseeing an investigation into the activities of Mayor Rob Ford, who repeatedly has attacked the legitimacy of the probe, Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair said yesterday.
Ford’s lawyer immediately denounced the oversight change, which leaves senior city investigators on the case, as “meaningless.”

In a letter to OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis, Blair laid out his reasons for asking his provincial colleagues for help.
“I am taking this step to avoid the distractions that have assumed such recent prominence,” Blair wrote.
“The only public interest here is the continued investigation, without fear or favour, into evidence of possible criminality.”
Ford did not immediately comment.
However, his lawyer dismissed the change—saying provincial police should have run the investigation from the get-go to avoid any conflict of interest.
“Only after [Blair] has been battered, beaten, and bruised for close to a year has he finally done the right thing,” Dennis Morris told The Canadian Press.
“It’s meaningless now because I’d guess 99 percent of the investigation has been completed,” he added.
If there were any charges planned against the mayor, Morris said, police should have laid them already.
Ford, who vociferously has challenged the chief to arrest him, has branded the investigation political.
He publicly has accused Blair of wasting tax money—with little result.
His most recent attack on the chief came Monday night, during an appearance on the U.S. late-night talk show “Jimmy Kimmel Live.”
“They follow me around for five months and came up empty-handed,” he said.
“I just want him to come clean with the taxpayers. It’s all politics.”
The Toronto police investigation in question—dubbed “Project Brazen 2”—arose last spring out of a year-long guns, gangs, and drugs probe.
It was during the initial probe that police uncovered a video showing Ford apparently smoking crack cocaine, and decided to investigate his activities.

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