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Coun. Ford calls for police chief to 'step aside temporarily'

TORONTO – Toronto Coun. Doug Ford is calling for an investigation into police chief Bill Blair’s handling of the drug video scandal involving his brother, Mayor Rob Ford, and for Blair to step aside while the probe is being conducted.

“I think there needs to be a probe … I am asking for the police chief to step aside temporarily until this probe takes place.” Coun. Ford told 680News political affairs specialist John Stall earlier Tuesday morning.

“I am not going to respond to any personal attacks,” Blair said late-morning in response to Coun. Ford’s remarks.

“It’s important for the police service not to respond to personal attacks, but simply just to do our job, and collect the evidence and put it before the courts. That’s what we are endeavouring to do and that’s I am am committed to.”

Blair made those comments after helping to kick off the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) annual “Red Ribbon Campaign” in the front lobby of police headquarters.

More comments from Coun. Ford

Coun. Ford also told 680News that Blair “should not be making comments about this as he is wearing the police chief’s uniform,” and added that it says so “right in the police act.”

Ford said the comments he’s referring to were from Thursday, when Blair said he was “disappointed” by what he had seen in the video and that it was a “traumatic issue for the citizens of this city and for the reputation of the city.”

“There’s obviously a lot of politics, in my opinion, being played here with the police chief — his comments, in his actions. I’ve never seen that before from a police chief.”

Listen to John’s Stall’s full interview with the councillor below:

“I want to clarify — this is my opinion. This is not the mayor’s opinion. I also want to clarify that the mayor and myself support the front-line police officers 100 per cent,” Coun. Ford said in the interview with 680News.

Coun. Ford said that in his opinion, Blair is the “most political police chief” he’s even met.

“He believes with his comments, he’s going to be the judge, jury and executioner of the mayor. In my opinion, he’s miscalculated that. This creates a total bias towards the mayor and also compromises the chief in moving forward the case against Lisi.”

The councillor also said he would like to meet with Toronto Police Services Board Alok Mukherjee about this matter, and that he will be sending a letter to the board chair, and the director of the Ontario Independent Police Review.

More of Chief Blair’s response to Coun. Ford

“Quite frankly, I was making a very sincere effort on Thursday not to offer suggestions on what should then transpire or any opinion. I was asked a very specific question about how I felt, and I responded how I felt,” Blair said at the quick scrum late Monday morning.

“I’m guided in my responsibilities by the rule of law, and why I’m also subject to civilian oversight in governance by a Police Services Board. I can assure the people of Toronto that we are continuing to do our job.”

More comments from Coun. Ford

While Blair addressed questions from reporters, Coun. Ford also held a news conference at City Hall and reiterated his comments on Blair.

Ford also said he doesn’t have confidence in police board member Andy Pringle. He said the fact that Pringle went on a fishing trip with chief is a “massive conflict of interest.”

“I would like a probe into that. I would like to find out who paid for this trip. I’d like to know if there’s any conversations about police issues during that trip. I’d like to know if there’s any issues discussed about the mayor during that trip,” Ford said, adding that Pringle should step down from the board.

When asked by a reporter if he is ready for a war with Chief Blair, Ford said: “Am I supposed to be intimidated by the police chief? Is that what you are implying? The police chief doesn’t intimidate me.”