Media frenzy around Toronto mayor intensifies

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford at Peel Regional Police Malton Community Station to report someone following Friday, November 1, 2013.



TORONTO -- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford called police twice the past two days.

But it wasn’t about the police probe into the alleged crack video.

The mayor called cops Friday and Saturday to complain about being followed by reporters and photographers, including several from the Toronto Sun.

Then, on Saturday afternoon, he grabbed the coat of a Sun reporter in the parking garage of City Hall.

Ever since police revealed Thursday they had retrieved a deleted video of Ford smoking what appeared to be crack cocaine, the media has followed his every move in the hope the mayor would address mounting public concern.

Friday saw Ford going about his business, avoiding reporters and cameras camped out at his City Hall office, as he was trailed by media outlets and even a TV chopper in the air.

After huddling with family at his mother's home, he visited a bakery, a community housing building and his family's business, Deco Labels.

He then drove to a police station to complain he was being followed by a stranger.

The stranger was Toronto Sun photographer Craig Robertson, who was among media Ford tussled with

Thursday morning in front of his home.

Robertson was at each stop Ford made Friday, taking his photo as an identified member of the media.

Along with him was Toronto Sun crime reporter Chris Doucette.

At one point, Ford momentarily jumped out of his car and jotted down Robertson's licence plate number.

Robertson continued to follow, obeying the rules of the road, and saw Ford pull into a police station.

Moments later, to Robertson's surprise, Ford exited with an officer who asked the photographer for his licence. He was then asked to go inside and give a statement -- as Ford drove off.

Another officer said Ford called police from his SUV, claiming someone was following him and he "didn't know who it was." Ford was told to head to the nearby station. Police said he gave a speedy statement accusing Robertson of driving erratically, cutting him off and driving through pylons.

"That's a bold-face lie," a stunned Robertson told the cop.

Police politely explained they couldn't lay charges without an "independent witness." It isn't clear where Ford went after the meeting but there was no sign of him at City Hall all day Friday.

On Saturday morning, he summoned police to a plaza to complain about being followed by Sun reporter Jenny Yuen and a CTV cameraman.

Police politely asked the media to drive safely.

Hours later, the Sun’s Terry Davidson was waiting with other reporters at City Hall when Ford grabbed his coat below the lapel on the way out.

“Don’t touch,” Davidson said, to which Ford released his grip and asked the group of media to leave.

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