Rob Ford crack investigation: OPP, Toronto police at odds
'I cannot be more clear. The investigation is ongoing,' Toronto police spokesman says
Two police forces appear at odds over the future of the investigation into Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.
Multiple sources told CBC News that the Crown is advising there is insufficient evidence, and now provincial police have suspended their involvement in the case, saying there is no new information to propel any further investigation.
The Toronto police, however, insist Project Brazen 2 is an ongoing criminal investigation. Mark Pugash, the spokesman for city police, said the OPP has not notified his force they are no longer involved. "I cannot be more clear. The investigation is ongoing," he said.
The investigation surrounded extortion allegations involving Ford's friend, Alexander (Sandro) Lisi and the retrieval of a video showing Ford smoking crack cocaine.
Ford said Thursday that he "knew all along" that he would not be arrested in relation to the so-called crack video.
"I knew I did nothing wrong," said Ford.
He added: "I just want to thank the OPP for doing a proper investigation."
Sgt. Pierre Chamberland told CBC News on Thursday that the provincial force, which took over oversight of Project Brazen 2 last month, has not received any new evidence on the case.
"Since there's no new information or evidence that has been provided to the OPP ... there is nothing for us to do at this point other than to wait and see whether or not any new information is put forward," said Chamberland.
"If any new information comes forward … we'll assign it to a major case manager."
"A bit surprising"
Criminal lawyer Michael Lacy said it was "a bit surprising" that the Crown and OPP declared there was not enough evidence to lay a charge when the police are still examining and gathering evidence.
"It may be that there's some disconnect between how the OPP is viewing this matter and the way the Toronto Police Service viewed the investigation," said Lacy.
"There was no evidence tying Rob Ford into anything that Sandro Lisi may have done."
It appears the extortion charge against Lisi is going ahead.
The Toronto police investigation into Ford's activities began last year after media reported about a tape that appears to show the mayor smoking crack cocaine.
Lisi is facing an extortion charge for what police have described as "extortive" actions in trying to acquire the video.
The Toronto police investigation surrounding the affair prompted the mayor and his brother to criticize police Chief Bill Blair. The brothers also described the investigation as politically motivated and a waste of taxpayers' money.
In a move to mitigate those criticisms, Blair handed oversight role of the investigation over to the OPP last month.
Toronto police spokesman said the investigators would continue their work.