Toronto Mayor Rob Ford admitted on Tuesday that he has smoked crack cocaine, probably "in one of my drunken stupors," but insisted he's not an addict and will not resign.
Facing a raucous group of reporters on Tuesday morning, Ford said he smoked crack, perhaps about a year ago. The admission came days after Toronto's police chief confirmed that police have recovered a copy of a video that two media organizations have said shows the mayor smoking the drug.
"Yes, I have smoked crack cocaine," he said in his first admission of drug use after six months of evading the question. "But no, do I? Am I an addict? No. Have I have tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago," he said.
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Later Tuesday afternoon, Ford again apologized to his family and the residents of Toronto, and said he it will never happen again. But, he said, he will not quit.
"To the residents of Toronto, I know I have let you down and I can't do anything else but apologize," he said. "I apologize and I am so sorry. I know I have to regain your trust and your confidence.
"I love my job and I love this city and I love saving taxpayers money. And I love being your mayor.
"For the sake of the taxpayers, we must get back to work immediately. We must keep Toronto moving forward."
Ford said that if people want him out of office, they can vote him out next year.
"We live in a democracy," he said. "On Oct. 27 in 2014, I want the people of this great city to decide if they want Rob Ford to mayor."
Ford said that with his admission, "I have nothing left to hide." And, he said, it's as if a "thousand-pound weight has been lifted off my shoulders."
In May, when the Toronto Star newspaper and the Gawker media blog first reported the existence of the video, Ford said he does not use crack cocaine, and he said he could not comment on a video he has not seen.
He and his brother Doug, a Toronto city councilman, have urged the police to release the video.
"I don't even remember," Ford said of his drug use. "After some of the stuff that you guys have seen me, the state I've been in. It's a problem."
On Sunday, Ford apologized and acknowledged the need to curb his drinking, but he didn't address allegations of drug use and said he will continue to lead Canada's largest city despite pressure to resign.
"I'm going to weather this storm," he said.
Ford made his remarks on his local weekly radio show three days after police said they had obtained a copy of a video that appears to show the mayor puffing on a crack cocaine pipe.
Police obtained the video during a surveillance operation of a friend of Ford's who is suspected of supplying him with drugs. Police have said they don't have grounds to charge the mayor with any crime.
Ford didn't address the contents of the video Sunday, saying he cannot comment on a tape he hasn't seen. "Whatever this video shows, Toronto residents deserve to see it and people need to judge for themselves what they see on this video," he said.
Police said the video will come out when Ford's associate and occasional driver, Alexander Lisi, goes to trial on drug and extortion charges. Lisi is accused of threatening two alleged gang members who had been trying to sell the video to the media.
Police have said they want to talk to Ford, but his lawyer so far has declined.
Ford on Sunday acknowledged making "mistakes" but declined to take a leave of absence or resign.
"I sincerely apologize. There's absolutely no excuse, no one to blame but myself," he said. "I am going to fight like no one has seen before to win the next election" in October 2014.
All four major Toronto newspapers have called on Ford to resign. Municipal law makes no provision for his forced removal from office unless he's convicted and jailed for a criminal offense.
The populist, conservative mayor also said Sunday he would agree to have a full-time city driver, a proposal he had rejected before as a waste of taxpayers' money.
Even before police announced they had the video, Ford had drawn criticism for his erratic behavior.
Ford said Sunday he shouldn't have been drunk in public when he appeared at a street festival in August, calling it "pure stupidity."
He also said he got "a little out of control" after St. Patrick's Day in 2012, when city hall security guards said they witnessed a "very intoxicated' Ford having trouble walking and swearing at aides.
An incident report released last week said that at 2:30 a.m. that day, Ford "visited the security desk alone with a half empty bottle of St. Remy French Brandy." The mayor said his car had been stolen and he wanted to call police, the report said. Security told Ford his car was at home, took the bottle from him and found him a taxi.
Ford warned Sunday, "I'm not saying here I'm not going to drink again. That's not realistic. Just slow down on the eating and drinking and everything."
The mayor also met over the weekend with ally and Deputy Mayor Norm Kelly, who had said he wanted to express the concerns of city council members.
Kelly said Sunday he was "encouraged" by Ford's decision to hire a driver to pick him up in the morning and take him home at night.
But Kelly said there would be "no generosity by any of the sides" if Ford slips up again.
Doug Ford, co-host of the radio show with his brother, said the mayor should stay in his basement when he drinks.
Ford drove himself to the radio station Sunday, blasting the Bee Gees' "Stayin' Alive" on his car stereo as he arrived.
Information from AFP and The Associated Press were used in this report.
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