Why has Rob Ford not been charged with anything? Here are eight theories and one real explanation
The Rob Ford crack scandal has taken a dark turn. On Wednesday, a new batch of police documents revealed information suggesting that the mayor has used heroin, and also that he may have tried to use money and influence to silence some alleged gang members who were trying to blackmail him with the infamous crack video.
All of which has led many Torontonians to wonder: why won’t the police just arrest this guy? While it’s impossible to say with certainty what police chief Bill Blair is up to, there are many competing theories. Here’s a rundown of eight of them, only one of which seems like a complete explanation.
1. Ford is getting special treatment because he’s a white guy, or because he’s the mayor
The refrain from a lot of commentators has been something along the lines of, “If Rob Ford were a black kid in Regent Park, he would have been arrested by now.” In fact, the Star‘s Rosie DiManno wrote almost exactly that, and during an interview with some reporters at city hall on Wednesday, councillor Joe Mihevc said something similar, although it was couched in less inflammatory language: “I would certainly urge the police to do what they need to do if he has broken the law, and not look at the title ‘mayor’ in front of Rob Ford’s name.”
2. Ford is getting special treatment because he’s rich
Being a white-guy mayor isn’t Ford’s only social advantage, according to some. He also happens to be rich. This is the line of reasoning councillor Adam Vaughan has been pursuing in his interviews over the course of the past few days. As he told the Post: “Two-tiered policing is not acceptable. A kid like Rob Ford, with a trust fund, gets policed differently? Because if that is the case, that’s wrong.”
3. Police are shaking the tree
There are plenty of theories that don’t assume the police are somehow blinded by prejudice. CTV political analyst Scott Reid believes the police and Crown prosecutors are allowing the mayor’s problems to become public knowledge because they’re playing a longer, more complicated game. As Reid put it, “It may be that they’re releasing these [police documents about Rob Ford]…because they wanted to, what they call, ‘jangle the wires.'” The theory is that the police have wiretaps going—ones the public doesn’t know about yet—and they’re hoping the tsunami of Ford media coverage will get some of their unsuspecting sources talking about his misdeeds.
4. Police have more irons in the fire
The documents released to date have dealt mainly with the arrest of Ford’s friend Sandro Lisi, which means Ford could still be under active investigation. The notion that police may still be watching the mayor and gathering evidence related to a different charge isn’t so far-fetched: just the other day, a police spokesperson confirmed that Project Brazen 2, the investigation into drug allegations against the mayor, is ongoing.
5. Police are waiting for Lisi’s extortion charge to resolve itself
Sandro Lisi’s arrest has to resolve itself sooner or later, either with a trial, or through some kind of deal with Crown prosecutors. It’s possible the police are waiting to see if Lisi has more details he’s willing to divulge in exchange for a deal. Or maybe they’re hoping more evidence will surface during a trial.
6. Police messed up the investigation
A theory being espoused by Clayton Ruby, the lawyer who almost succeeded in getting Ford booted from office on conflict-of-interest charges early this year, is that police incompetence is the reason Ford continues to walk the streets without an ankle bracelet. “I’ve never seen such a botched investigation,” he told the Canadian Press. “And I’ve seen thousands.”
7. Police were just being cautious
So say, you know, the police themselves.
8. Police just don’t have enough evidence to convict him
This is the best explanation we’ve seen. Daniel Stein, a former criminal lawyer, lays out the case in a remarkably clear-sighted post on his blog. “You need a sample of the drug,” he writes. “Every successful prosecution for possession of drugs in this country is founded on a sample of the alleged drug sent to Health Canada for analysis. I once won a case where the only thing lacking was a certificate of analysis. The Crown had police officers who described what looked like drugs. They had fishy behaviour. But no go.” The Post‘s Peter Kuitenbrouwer agrees.