Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he is “embarrassed” after a new video surfaced showing him in a rambling rage, threatening to “murder” someone.
Moments after the video was posted online, the mayor told reporters that he was “extremely, extremely inebriated” in it.
His mother defended him, saying she has advised him to work on his “huge weight problem,” get a driver, put an alcohol detector in his car and watch the company he keeps. But she insisted that her son, who has acknowledged a drinking problem, did not need to enter rehab.
The context of the video is unknown, and it’s unclear who is the target of Mr Ford’s anger. The video appeared at length on the Toronto Star’s website.
City councillors moved ahead in efforts to force him out of office, although there is no clear legal path for doing so.
The controversy surrounding Mr Ford escalated last week when police announced they had obtained a different, long-sought video that shows him smoking a crack pipe. After months of evading the question, he admitted to smoking crack in a “drunken stupor” about a year ago.
Despite immense pressure, the mayor has refused to resign or take a leave of absence.
The 44-year-old, who is married with two school-age children, said he made mistakes and “all I can do is reassure the people. I don’t know what to say.”
“It’s extremely embarrassing. The whole world is going to see it,” he said.
In the blurry, shaky new video, Mr Ford paces around, frantically waves his arms and rolls up his sleeves as he says he’ll “make sure” the unknown person is dead.
He tells another person in the room that he wants to “kill” someone. “Cause I’m going to kill that (expletive) guy,” Mr Ford says. “No holds barred, brother. He dies or I die.”
The Toronto Star said that it bought the video for 5,000 dollars from “a source who filmed it from someone else’s computer.” The newspaper said it was told “the person with the computer was there in the room.”
City Councilor James Pasternak urged Mr Ford to make a “dignified exit.”
“The video is very disturbing,” he said. “It’s very upsetting, it’s very sad.”
But Mr Ford’s lawyer Dennis Morris said the context of the video “is skeletal.” ‘’Was it taken eight, 10 months ago or a short time ago?” he said.
Earlier Mr Morris said he was in talks with the police for Mr Ford to view the video that appears to show him smoking crack.
Police obtained that video during a drug investigation into the mayor’s friend and occasional driver, and they have said they are prohibited from releasing the video because it is evidence before the courts. Police have not charged Mr Ford, saying the video doesn’t provide enough evidence against him.
Municipal law makes no provision for the mayor’s forced removal from office unless he’s convicted and jailed for a criminal offence.
Mr Ford, who grew up in a wealthy and politically influential family, was elected to City Hall three years ago on conservative support from Toronto’s outer suburbs.
But city councillors say they have been mostly working around him since he took office.
Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong said he plans to amend a motion that would ask Mr Ford to take a leave of absence. The amendment, which could be voted on next Wednesday, takes the unprecedented step of asking the province of Ontario to pass legislation to remove the mayor if he does not agree to take a leave of absence.
The province has no plans to step in and amend the law, Ontario Municipal Affairs Minister Linda Jeffrey said.
Councillor Giorgio Mammoliti, a Ford ally, urged the mayor to enter rehab and said in a statement he fears “that if the mayor does not get help now, he will succumb to health issues related to addiction.”
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair has said police have a second tape, but he has declined to discuss what’s on it.