Rob Ford caused chaos at Toronto City Council last November by ambling over to the packed public gallery and having his driver/bodyguard Jerry photograph/record video of members of the public in a manner clearly meant to intimidate. This was unprecedented and led to an unprecedentedly ugly verbal assault by both Ford brothers on the people of Toronto taking time out of their busy schedules to attend that council meeting.
The Fords were apparently at it again last week on a smaller scale at a mayoral debate at Ryerson University. Rob Ford's receptionist Graeme McEachern was seen repeatedly taking photos of audience members at the debate. Here's a photo of Graeme McEachern taking a photo -
Here are Erika Wybourn's tweets about the scene -
We spoke with Graeme McEachern at the sit-in later that night - he and Ford's chief of staff Dan Jacobs had returned to city hall after the debate. Graeme McEachern acknowledged that yes, that was him in the photo above; he claimed that he'd "only" been taking a photo of one audience member, a heckler who "may have been going too far".
#RFMG sit-in participant Erika Wybourn was at the Ryerson Debate sitting not far behind Graeme McEachern and claims to've witnessed him taking multiple photos of multiple audience members.
Here are some unanswered questions about the Fords and their habit of having staff members take photos of members of the public at council and at debates as an apparent intimidation tactic -
- At the Ryerson debate, was Ford receptionist Graeme McEachern taking photos on his own initiative or was he doing so because Rob or Doug Ford asked him to?
- Does Rob Ford have some other explanation for why his staffers take photos/video of members of the public at council and debates?
- What do the Fords do with photos/video staff take of members of the public?
- Where are the photos and videos stored?
- Who gets access to them and why?
- What did Graeme McEachern mean when he said the audience member "may have been going too far"?
- Are there legitimate security reasons for Ford's staff to take photos of members of the public in audiences at debates?
- Are photos and videos of the public taken by Ford staffers available through FOIA requests?
If you have any additonal thoughts or questions about Rob Ford and photo/video intimidation tactics, please share!