Rob Ford chief of staff phoned police after shooting

Rob Ford's former chief of staff Mark Towhey says he notified police after someone phoned the mayor's office days after the crack video scandal broke claiming that the fatal shooting Anthony Smith was connected to the video.

Mayor's former chief of staff Mark Towhey passed tip on to police

Ford tape link to Smith shooting?

9 years ago
Duration 2:25
Former Rob Ford chief of staff Mark Towhey says he called police when a tipster claimed there was a link between the Rob Ford tape and the shooting death of Anthony Smith.

Rob Ford's former chief of staff says he notified police immediately after someone phoned the mayor's office days after the crack video scandal broke and claimed the fatal shooting of Anthony Smith was connected to the video.

Mark Towhey was fired on May 24, one week after Gawker and the Toronto Star first reported that their journalists had viewed a tape that appeared to show Ford smoking crack.

Towhey spoke to CBC's Charlsie Agro on Thursday and said he notified police once a call came in to the mayor's office alleging a link between the tape and the fatal shooting of Anthony Smith in late March.

"There were a lot of phone calls coming in to the office," Towhey told Agro. "One of our staff received some information from someone that he trusted but that we didn't know … whether or not there was a video, we couldn't tell, but that it might have been a motive for a murder.

"Once we heard that, it was my decision that this was a piece of a puzzle that wasn't ours to solve. So we passed that on to the police because if there was any validity to it at all, it might fit in to one of their investigations and they should have it."

Towhey confirmed to Agro that the person rumoured to have been killed in connection to the Ford tape is Smith.

Smith, 21, was gunned down on the sidewalk outside the Loki lounge on King Street West in late March. Nisar Hashimi was originally charged with first-degree murder in Smith's death, but in June plead guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter in an unusual plea deal with the Crown.

Smith is also one of three young men posing with Ford in a photo that was was shown to journalists by people trying to sell the video.

The two other men in the video were arrested and charged in a series of arrests in a police sweep called Project Traveller that targeted gangs operating in northwest Toronto.

Towhey also told Agro that despite Thursday's revelations that police were are possession of the tape, Ford may be able to weather the storm and continue to serve as mayor.

"For any mere mortal politician, this would probably be a death blow to their career," said Towhey. "Rob Ford isn't a mortal politician.

"He has defied career-ending gaffes and issues and scandals before. Whether he can do it again, I don't know. I think this will have a major impact on what people think about him."


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?