Rob Ford Daniel Dale Star

Rob Ford threatens Toronto Star reporter outside home

You've probably heard the news already — that the police were once again called to the mayor's house last evening, this time after an altercation of some kind with Toronto Star reporter Daniel Dale who was working on a story that brought him in close proximity to the Ford home in Etobicoke. Depending on whose account of the evening's events you believe, altercation might not even be the correct word. What sounds most likely is that Ford completely lost control and threatened a reporter who was merely doing his job.

Dale's account of the events is both precise and chilling, and given that another witness has corroborated the claim that he never set foot on the mayor's property, I'm not sure how anyone with basic intellectual abilities could think that Ford's response was justified. Here's how Dale describes the encounter:

"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. I began pleading with him, as loud as I could, with my hands up, for him to stop. I yelled, at the top of my lungs, something like, "Mayor Ford, I'm writing about the land! I'm just looking at the land! You're trying to buy the TRCA land!" Instinctually, I also reached into my pocket to grab my dead phone. I then fiddled with my voice recorder, trying fruitlessly to turn it on so that I would have a recording of any physical violence."

Ford's take on the event goes like this: "I ran around and I caught him. He just went nuts; he dropped his cellphone; he dropped his tape recorder. I said, 'What are you doing here?' He started screaming, 'Help! Help! ...Help! Help! Help!' I think he thought he was going to die but I didn¹t touch him... I'm not going to tolerate people taking pictures of my kids and my family in my backyard" (via the Toronto Sun).

Is that some tough guy pride I detect? Tough to tell, but that last sentence is problematic on a number of accounts — not the least of which because Dale wasn't in his backyard. In an interview with CP24 following the incident the mayor alternated between claiming that the reporter was in his backyard and standing on cinder blocks looking over the fence.

When news of the incident started to spread at around 10:00 p.m. (NewsTalk1010 interestingly had some coverage just before 9:30 p.m.), Twitter erupted with reaction despite the relatively late hour. If somebody puts together a word cloud that sums up all the tweets, we're bound to see "shitshow" and "crazy" in some pretty big fonts. I've rounded up some of the reaction below. Pay close attention to tweets from the Sun media folks (Sue-Ann Levy, Ezra Levant, and Joe Warmington), whose grip on reality has finally deserted them altogether.

More to come tomorrow

Original photo by BruceK in the blogTO Flickr pool

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