Toronto Mayor Rob Ford says the only reason he received a jaywalking ticket in B.C. last weekend is that officers recognized him.
"I support the police – they've got a job to do, they do it. But she picked me out and said, 'You're Rob Ford, come with me,'" Mr. Ford told reporters on Wednesday during a press conference to present a cheque for nearly $11,000 to the Canadian Cancer Society from the sale of bobblehead dolls of the mayor. "I've never seen – and I've had a lot of friends on the force as you know – they don't give out jaywalking tickets. I'm just perplexed by it."
An RCMP officer in Coquitlam, B.C., ticketed the scandal-plagued mayor on Friday night near the hotel where he stayed for the weekend. At the time, Mr. Ford was with friend and former staffer Dave Price, whose mother's funeral he was in town to attend.
An RCMP spokesperson said on Tuesday he would not comment on the case. "The RCMP does not routinely disclose or publicly comment on matters that do not involve Criminal Code or other serious offences, including violation tickets," Sergeant Rob Vermeulen said in a statement over the weekend. "This policy is applied for all individuals regardless of who they are."
But Coquitlam Mayor Richard Stewart said on Wednesday that jaywalking has been a persistent concern in the city, adding that police officers have been asked to clamp down on offenders. "This is a seven-lane provincial highway," Mr. Stewart said of the intersection where Mr. Ford was ticketed. "I've seen police stopping jaywalkers on much less busy roads than this one."
Toronto Councillor Doug Ford went a step further, accusing the RCMP of targeting his brother.
"I feel he was targeted. If his name was John Smith, he wouldn't have ended up getting that ticket," Doug Ford said on Wednesday. "He got that ticket because his name was Rob Ford."
He added that he was told the officer called her supervisor during the incident, and waited for that supervisor to arrive. "Over a jaywalking ticket? You've got to be kidding me."
The night the mayor was given the ticket, social media lit up with photos of him in a bar just steps from where he was ticketed. "Rob Ford is at the foggy dew," Twitter user @DChapman4 wrote early on Saturday morning. "Got hammered with Rob Ford tonight," wrote @Jay_Dubzz. Images said to have been taken inside the bar show Mr. Ford wearing a suit and tie and posing with crowds of young people.