TORONTO – A new video that surfaced Thursday showed Toronto Mayor Rob Ford threatening to "murder" someone and "poke his eyes out" in a rambling rage, deepening the conviction among both critics and allies that he is no longer fit to lead North America's fourth largest city.
The mayor told reporters moments after the video was posted online that he was "extremely, extremely inebriated" in it and "embarrassed" by it. The context of the video is unknown and it's unclear who the target of Ford's wrath is. The video, which appeared at length on the Toronto Star's website and in clips on the Toronto Sun's website, prompted round of calls for Ford to step down.
The controversy surrounding Ford escalated last week when police announced they had obtained a different, long-sought video that shows Ford smoking a crack pipe. After months of evading the question, Ford admitted Tuesday 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.
Ford, who is married with two school-age children, said Thursday 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," said Ford, who is 44.
City councilors stepped up efforts to force Ford out of office, although there is no clear legal path for doing so.
In the blurry and shaky new video, Ford paces around, frantically waves his arms and rolls up his sleeves as he says he'll "make sure" the unknown person is dead.
Ford tells another person in the room, possibly the man filming the video, that he wants to "kill" someone. "Cause I'm going to kill that [expletive] guy," Ford says. "No holds barred, brother. He dies or I die."
At one point he says "My brothers are, don't tell me we're liars, thieves, birds" and then later refers to "80-year-old birds."
The Toronto Star said that it purchased the video for $5,000 from "a source who filmed it from someone else's computer" and the paper said it was told "the person with the computer was there in the room."
City Councilor James Pasternak urged Ford to make a "dignified exit."
"The video is very disturbing," he said. "It's very upsetting, it's very sad."
Ford lawyer Dennis Morris told The Associated Press the context of the video "is skeletal." ''Was it taken eight, 10 months ago or a short time ago?" he said.
Earlier Thursday, Morris said he was in talks with the police for Ford to view the video that appears show the mayor smoking crack. Morris said Ford would not answer questions.
Police obtained that video in the course of a drug investigation into the mayor's friend and occasional driver. They have not charged Ford, saying the video doesn't provide enough evidence against him.
Ford, who grew up in a wealthy and politically influential family, was elected to City Hall three years ago on a wave of conservative backlash in Toronto's outer suburbs against perceived wasteful spending.
But city councilors say they have been mostly working around Ford since he took office. The mayor's power is more limited in Toronto, a city of 2.7 million people, than in many large U.S. cities; he has just one vote on a council of 44 members.
Municipal law makes no provision for the mayor's forced removal from office unless he's convicted and jailed for a criminal offence.
City Councilor Denzil Minnan-Wong, a member of Ford's executive committee, said Thursday he plans to amend a motion he has filed that would ask 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, however, has no plans to step in and amend the law to allow Ford to be forced from office, Ontario Municipal Affairs Minister Linda Jeffrey reaffirmed Thursday.
City Councilor 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."
Ford acknowledged a drinking problem for the first time Sunday and apologized.
In a television interview, Ford's mother and sister acknowledged he had problems but insisted he was not an addict of any sort and defended his ability to continue on as mayor.
His mother, Diane, said she told her son during a family meeting last week to get a driver, lose weight, get an alcohol detector in his car and watch the company he keeps. But she insisted he did not need to enter rehab.
"I didn't say shape up or ship out, but I did say, 'Rob, you maybe got to smarten up a little bit," Diane told CP24 television. "He's got a huge weight problem and he knows that and I think that' is the first thing he needs to attack."
"If he was really, really in dire straits and really needed help I'd be the first one ... I'd put him in my care and take him there," she said.
His sister Kathy added, "Robbie is not a drug addict. I know because I'm a former addict."
The allegations about Ford smoking crack first emerged earlier this year when reporters from the Toronto Star and the U.S. website Gawker separately said they saw that video, but they did not obtain a copy.
Police said they are prohibited releasing it because is evidence before the courts.
Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair has said police have a second tape, but he has declined to discuss what's on it. Police spokesman Mark Pugash told the AP the video released Thursday is not the tape Blair talked about.
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