Rob Ford offered to quit after altercation with reporter

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he asked his family if he should step down after a tense altercation with a Toronto Star reporter behind his home.

Threatens media blackout if Daniel Dale part of scrum

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says he asked his family if he should step down after a tense altercation with a Toronto Star reporter behind his home.

The mayor said his family is upset after an incident in which he confronted city hall reporter Daniel Dale behind Ford's property in Etobicoke between 7:30 and 8 p.m. Wednesday.

"I said, 'Do you want me to step aside?' They said no way. You keep doing what you're doing," Ford told CBC's Jamie Strashin on Thursday.

"My seven year old, she likes it. My wife likes it. Because they know I'm doing the right thing. I know I'm doing the right thing."

The Star said Dale was in the area as part of research on a story he is following about Ford's application to purchase a parcel of wooded land adjacent to his backyard that belongs to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

'He is lucky he did get away.'—Rob Ford, Toronto mayor, on Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale

Ford said a neighbour alerted him to Dale's presence, which prompted Ford to go to the back of the house and confront the reporter.

Ford said Dale was standing on a cinder block taking pictures over the back of his fence. Dale, however, said his own account of the events posted online he was taking photos "of the trees and the fencing."

Ford said he had no idea why Dale was behind his house, when the parcel of land the journalist was investigating was on the other side of his home.

"Why are you at the cinder blocks taking pictures back here when the property is hundred yards, a football field away from here?," Ford said.

"I don't know what the Toronto Star is doing."

Dale said in an online account posted Wednesday said he "wanted to see where the land was actually located; the TRCA’s map was confusing."

"I’m still not sure if the parcel I was standing on is the parcel Ford is looking to acquire, but I can say this with certainty: I never came close to entering his backyard," Dale wrote.

TRCA land adjacent to home, not behind

A map provided to the CBC by the TRCA shows that the parcel of land Ford is intent on acquiring is adjacent to his home on the northeast side. Dale was on the southeast side of the house when the mayor confronted him.

This map shows the area (labelled 'subject property') that Mayor Rob Ford wants to buy. (Toronto and Region Conservation/CBC graphic)

Dale was questioned by police about the incident Thursday afternoon.

Afterward, Dale told reporters that he had done nothing wrong and didn't come within 10 feet of the mayor’s property.

Ford said he confronted Dale because he was concerned for his family's safety and acted immediately.

"My family's first and foremost," said Ford.

"He is lucky he did get away. Honestly, I didn't touch him, but everyone I talked to says, 'If it was me, Rob, he wouldn't have gotten away.' But I let him go."

Earlier in the day, Ford told AM640's John Oakley on Thursday morning he "can't even find a word to describe how low" the Toronto Star has gone after his altercation with Dale.

"If Daniel Dale's ... down at city hall, I will not be talking to any reporters if he is part of that scrum. They have to take him out of city hall," said Ford.

"You cannot have any city hall reporter peering in your back yard."

Ford said he is now considering legal action.

"He started saying ‘Help, help, help' and I said, ‘What are you saying help for?'" Ford told Oakley.

Dale said that Ford was "extremely agitated" when he confronted him.

"At some point, perhaps 10 or 15 seconds into the encounter, he cocked his fist near his head and began charging at me at a full run," Dale wrote Wednesday. "I began pleading with him, as loud as I could, with my hands up, for him to stop."

Ford told CBC he was upset at the time and couldn't recall exactly how he had reacted.

Star spokesman Bob Hepburn said Dale didn't go into Ford's yard and remained on public property throughout the incident.

In his version of events, Dale wrote that Ford stopped moving toward him at a distance of about two metres.

Dale said Ford insisted that he drop the phone, which Dale said he eventually did do. Dale said he then returned to his car and left.

Police reviewing security footage

Ford said he won't be getting a security detail in light of this incident and other concerns for the mayor's safety.

Ford and the Star had a tense relationship even prior to Wednesday's incident. Upset over coverage during the 2010 mayoralty campaign, Ford has refused to grant interviews to the newspaper.

Ford has been the subject of death threats, and his sister’s former boyfriend was charged with making death threats against the mayor earlier this year.

After that incident, the mayor's brother Coun. Doug Ford called for more security around his house.

He also told 1010 Newstalk Radio security cameras captured the incident, and the images clearly show the the reporter's head "bobbing" over the fence. 

"Police have seen it," said Ford.

However, Dale denied that he stood on cinderblocks and said he "never peered over the fence."

Last fall, police were called to Ford's home after a crew from the CBC comedy show This Hour Has 22 Minutes went to his house for the purpose of conducting a surprise interview.