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article imageOp-Ed: Unanswered questions about Rob Ford and drug dealers

By Ken Hanly     Nov 8, 2013 in Politics
Toronto - Toronto Mayor Rob Ford finally admitted on Tuesday November 5 that he had smoked crack cocaine. According to the Toronto Police, there is a video in which he was caught smoking from a crack pipe.
There are a number of issues that are left unresolved and to a considerable extent not even fully examined by reporters. There is no explanation as to why Ford appears in a photo with suspected gang members outside what police believe to be a crack house. The fate of three of those in the photo with Ford is also of interest according to this site: What has been completely underemphasized however is the fact that one young man, Anthony Smith, is dead, one other shot and another thrown from a sixth-story balcony in another part of the country. All three of these youth were directly associated with the video.
The video was originally reported by both the US website Gawker and the Toronto Star. Both said that the video was being shopped around by an unnamed source: A photo was distributed to both media outlets showing the mayor alongside Smith, who was shot and killed on March 28. Two other men in the photo were subsequently arrested in a series of predawn police raids targeting guns and gangs in the city's west end.
The photo is thought to have been taken just outside 15 Windsor Rd. in Etobicoke that police believe is a crack house. On the night of Smith's death, members of a rival gang to the Dixon City Bloods, the gang targeted in the Project Traveler police raids, became involved in a fight in a downtown night club with Smith.
In April, Nisar Hashimi turned himself in to police. He was charged with first-degree murder but in a plea bargain he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter. During the court process, it was revealed that police believed Smith and others were members of the Dixon City Bloods gang, They also believed that Smith was taking instructions from them. Some friends of Smith think that the video of Ford smoking a crack pipe was stored on his cell phone. However, since Hashimi entered a guilty plea evidence was never presented in court.
The relationship between the Ford scandal and the fellow who was apparently pushed from a Fort MacMurray Alberta apartment is quite unclear. His family denies there is any relationship but the police response is suspicious: A man who fell six storeys from a Fort McMurray apartment where police made an arrest linked to the Rob Ford crack video scandal was secretly spirited away by police to a remote Alberta hospital. Hanad Hussein, 25, is in intensive care with back and chest injuries after he fell from a sixth-floor balcony late last week at the River Park Glen apartment complex — the same apartment where, three weeks ago, Hanad Mohamed, 23, was arrested and charged in the shooting death of Toronto man Anthony Smith. So it seems another person had been charged with killing Smith other than Hashimi.
Another key figure in this complex drama is Alexander Lisi, a friend of Ford and sometimes his driver. Lisi apparently "made extortive efforts to retrieve a recording" from Mohamed Siad, the man who reported tried to sell the video to media. The police have charged Lisi with extortion and drug related charges. Lisi sent many text messages to Siad and also made numerous phone calls to him.
There is even some evidence that the mayor could have been paying the utility bills for the alleged crack house. The mayor is friends with the owners of the house.
Project Traveller was a year-long investigation into a criminal gang in the west end and a raid that led to 43 arrests, the seizure of many guns, millions of dollars in drugs and substantial cash. While this project wrapped up in June, On Oct. 31, Toronto police chief Bill Blair said: "There were indications during the course of that investigation of other criminal activity, not encompassed within the original Project Traveller mandate and, as a consequence, I directed that an investigation be conducted into information that we had received with respect to certain criminal behaviour to ensure that we left no stone unturned and that we did our job."
This new investigation had begun on May 18 just two days after the news reports surfaced about the Ford crack video. The investigations involved interviews with people on Ford's staff and also surveillance of meeting with Lisi and Ford. Many involved Lisi dropping of unidentified packages for the mayor the police claim. Yet the police did not pull Ford over or search his vehicle after any of these meetings. Renowned lawyer Clayton Ruby said that it was inexplicable that police never searched Ford's car or home or even tapped his phone. Toronto police spokesperson Mark Pugash said that Ruby did not know what he was talking about: "We know we are going to be under the most extensive scrutiny, so we have to be able to justify absolutely everything that we do."
This whole issue should be under more scrutiny by investigative reporters so that the many questions that linger about the whole relationship of Ford to drug dealers is made clear. The police now have the video of Ford allegedly smoking crack but so far it has not been released publicly and may not be unless the judge in the court case against Lisi decides to allow it. Ford has asked for its release.
The allegations against mayor Rob Ford contained in the police documents have not been proven in court.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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