TW: Domestic abuse
Early Christmas morning, police were called to the home of Mayor Rob Ford about a reported domestic dispute. It was the second such call in as many months.
On Oct. 25, less than 15 hours after Ford himself called 911 regarding the intrusion of the comedy show This Hour has 22 Minutes on his property, officers from 22 Division were back at the Etobicoke residence on a domestic call.
On Christmas, Ford’s mother-in-law called police between 4 and 5 a.m. to report that the mayor had been drinking and was taking his children to Florida against the wishes of his wife, Renata.
The Toronto police Youth and Family Violence Unit, which handles all domestic disputes, including incidents that are strictly verbal, is still investigating both events. No charges have been laid.
An interview request submitted to Ford’s office, which detailed the contents of this story, went unanswered.
According to numerous police and emergency service sources, 911 calls to the mayor’s Edenbridge Dr. home are a reality for the South Etobicoke division. Exactly how many calls have been made is unknown.
The calls leave police in an uncomfortable quandary. Ford is the city’s chief magistrate. The mayor — or a designate acting on his behalf — has a seat on the police board. In fact, four of the seven board members are appointed by city council. Police Chief Bill Blair reports to this civilian oversight board.
The chief was unavailable for comment Thursday, according to spokesman Mark Pugash, who said Ford’s position “absolutely” does not put police in a difficult situation.
“The procedures don’t take into account the social position or occupation of a person being investigated or charged.” (Lol, really?)
Through sources, the Star has heard about a handful of incidents in recent years, but a freedom of information request to the police service for a list of 911 calls relating to homes on Edenbridge Dr. over a five-year period was only partially granted. The dates for calls were removed.
A secondary request filed specifically for Oct. 25 was denied in part because the personal information was gathered “as part of an investigation into a possible violation of law.”
Sources say senior police officials are aware of these calls and there have been discussions on how to deal with media questions about them. Only one other domestic dispute involving Ford has ever been reported.
In March 2008, Ford, then still a councillor, called 911 after a conflict with Renata. Ford said she was acting “irrational.” He left their home with the couple’s children. Police later charged him with assault and uttering a death threat. Both charges were dropped two months later due to inconsistencies in Renata’s story. At the time, Ford told reporters the couple had begun counseling and that he supports his wife and she him.
Four years later, the 911 calls persist.
For Councillor Adam Vaughan, a former police board member, there is a sensitive balancing act between personal privacy and possible conflicts.
“What’s changed since the last time events made the headlines is that he has a designate on the police service board and he is involved directly with negotiations around the budget . . . the mayor can’t handle this the same way he handled it before.
“He has a higher burden of responsibility here. If he’s involved with the police, either with calling them or having them called against him. . . he’s got to be much more clear how he’s exercising this authority and whether or not there is any potential conflict.”
That probably would mean making a public declaration about what’s going on, he said.
“That being said, clearly he is dealing with some significant private issues. . . he needs the time and the space to deal with that.” ('Significant private issues?' Um. No.)
Det. Jacqueline Baus, the detective investigating the incidents, confirmed both cases are still open, but refused to provide details of either. It is typical practice in a domestic investigation, when an allegation of physical abuse is made, for the police to lay a charge. There is no evidence, as far as the Star is aware, of physical violence in either incident.
When reached this week at their Etobicoke home, only a few streets away from the mayor’s, Renata Ford’s parents said the Christmas morning call was all a mistake.
“We don’t want to talk about it. Everything okay. . . Now is everything okay,” said Henryka Brejniak, who is Polish and speaks some English.
The call on Oct. 25 came in at 10:17 p.m. as unknown trouble. Two sources familiar with the incident say it was Renata who phoned the police as a result of a verbal altercation. Three days later, Ford travelled to Guadalajara, Mexico, for the Pan American Games. Renata went with him.
Toronto Police Supt. Ron Taverner, who heads the neighbouring Etobicoke police division and has known the Ford family for many years, said the mayor receives no special treatment.
“Anyone, if it’s you or I, they have a right to privacy if someone calls the police and it’s a domestic related issue. We don’t go around talking about that. That’s their personal business. I don’t think anybody would want that.”
So, yes. It seems like our mayor is beating his wife again. Abusers earn a special type of loathing from me so really all I can say is that I'm just so disgusted by this. And fuck you, Adam Vaughan. Domestic abuse is never 'a private affair.' Fuck you and every single other Councillor who'll excuse this fuckery.