Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair asks provincial police to oversee investigation involving Rob Ford

Matthew Coutts
Daily Brew
Toronto police chief says authorities have Rob Ford drug video

A Toronto police investigation involving Mayor Rob Ford will have provincial oversight after Chief Bill Blair requested the Ontario Provincial Police get involved in the tempestuous case.

In an announcement released on Wednesday, Blair requested OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis provide oversight on the investigation involving Ford.

"As discussed in our recent phone call, I am writing to make a formal request that the Ontario Provincial Police assume an oversight role with respect to Project Brazen 2," the letter reads.

"As you are aware, Project Brazen 2 arose from the Toronto Police Service's year-long Project Traveller, focusing on organized crime, violence, guns and drugs.

"I am taking this step to avoid the distractions that have assumed such recent prominence. The only public interest here is the continued investigation, without fear or favour, into evidence of possible criminality."

The statement further notes that Lewis agreed to the request.

[ Related: Rob and Doug Ford launch all-out assault against Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair ]

Blair has faced attacks from Ford and his brother, Coun. Doug Ford, since details of the investigation first came public.

Project Brazen 2 was launched last year after Ford's name was linked to a separate investigation into gang activity in the Etobicoke area. So far, the investigation has resulted in drug trafficking and extortion charges against Ford's friend and former driver, Alexander Lisi.

Information gleaned from the investigation has been publicly released by the courts, detailing a series of bizarre meetings between Ford and Lisi, information gathered from police surveillance and details shared by staff members about Ford’s antics, including allegations that Lisi was providing Ford with drugs.

In October, Blair confirmed that police had recovered a copy of a video showing Ford smoking from a crack pipe. He said in a press conference he was "disappointed" by the discovery.

The mayor and his brother, who is acting as his campaign manager, have accused Blair of attacking Ford politically. Last week, the pair took turns accusing Blair of acting inappropriately.

Blair told CBC News that police had been warned by Lisi that Blair was going to "get his."

Doug Ford has filed a complaint with the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, which is being investigated. Rob Ford, meantime, has accused Blair of wasting tax dollars by investigating the allegations against him, and has demanded to know how much the investigation cost.

He most recently brought Blair's name up during his appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live.

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