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sexta-feira, 28 de outubro de 2011

Release the tapes, Mr. Mayor

Published On Thu Oct 27 2011
Frame capture shows Mary Walsh of This Hour Has 22 Minutes confronting Mayor Rob Ford in his driveway Monday.
Frame capture shows Mary Walsh of This Hour Has 22 Minutes confronting Mayor Rob Ford in his driveway Monday.
Mayor Rob Ford concedes he uttered an obscenity in dealing with a Toronto 911 dispatcher, but says he “never called anyone any names.” Well, what he admits is bad enough. This city’s hard-pressed 911 operators have plenty on their plate without having to listen to the “f-word” from a raging mayor who is their ultimate boss.
But reports by CBC News, citing unnamed police sources, describe an even more offensive response from Ford. “You . . . bitches,” he is alleged to have yelled. “Don’t you f-ing know? I’m Rob f-ing Ford, the mayor of this city.” If these disputed statements had involved some other public official, one would likely give the alleged transgressor benefit of the doubt.
But, sadly, on at least one previous occasion Ford has subjected people to outrageous and abusive statements and not been truthful about it. The only way to determine which account correctly reflects Ford’s conversation on the 911 line is to release the tape for all to hear. But Toronto police say the recording is considered a private communication and confidentiality is protected by law.
Ford has apologized “for expressing my frustration inappropriately.” If he’s truly sorry about this mess, and determined to clear the air, he should waive his right to privacy and disclose all 911 tapes in this incident. Police say if he wants a copy of the tapes, all he has to do is ask. Releasing them is the only way to restore public confidence in the accuracy of what he’s claiming.
This sorry episode started with farce, when Mary Walsh, a cast member of CBC-TV’s This Hour Has 22 Minutes approached Ford in his driveway dressed in the warrior princess garb of her comedy character Marg Delahunty. On a tape of the incident he, at first, smiles and doesn’t appear afraid. But Ford quickly becomes agitated and beats a hasty retreat back into his house.
“Concerned for my safety and that of my family, I called 911 for help,” he explained in a statement Thursday. But police evidently took too long to arrive. Frustrated with the delay, Ford again called 911. That’s when he resorted to the f-word.
There are some problems with Ford’s version of events. In an earlier statement he said “it was pretty dark” and his daughter was with him. But the CBC tape shows it wasn’t dark at all, and there’s no sign of his daughter being outside.
One would be more inclined to trust Ford if it wasn’t for incidents like his bizarre confrontation with Dan and Rebecca Hope at a hockey game five years ago. In an inexcusable, if incoherent, tirade he shouted “right-wing communist bastards” and resorted to even worse abuse. When word of the altercation spread, Ford claimed it was he who was being slandered by the allegations and denied even being at the game. Only when the weight of evidence proved overwhelming did Ford come clean and apologize. It’s not a record to inspire confidence.
Maybe Ford is right. Maybe he never called 911 operators “bitches.” But if he wants to prevent this city’s leadership from becoming a national joke, he should make the 911 tapes public.


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