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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford reacts to thrown drink incident at street festival

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford speaks at a luncheon for the Toronto Real Estate Board on June 14, 2013.

Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

Embattled Toronto Mayor Rob Ford may soon be escorted by bodyguards at public events after a woman allegedly threw a drink at him over the weekend.

The frugal mayor was receptive to hiring a security detail after a caller to his weekly radio show suggested the idea.

"The police are doing a great job, but I don't think it's up to the police," Mr. Ford said on Sunday.

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"The police did fantastic yesterday; they do it all the time for me. But you know what? It's time to get my own security guys."

However, Mr. Ford, who was elected on a pledge to cut costs, added that he is not enamoured with the idea. "I don't feel comfortable. I just would rather go and mix and mingle with the crowd."

Police charged a woman with assault after a drink was thrown at the mayor during the Taste of Little Italy street festival on Saturday. Shannon Everett, 27, is to appear in court on July 23.

"There was something in that cup. I tried to take a quick whiff – I don't know if it was rye or vodka or something," the mayor said while laughing, before adding: "It's not funny. That hurt, man. When it hits you in the face, you don't expect it, right?"

Mr. Ford's brother Doug, a city councillor who co-hosts the radio show, asked people to pick up the phone to call him or his brother instead of "showering us."

"It's serious because it could have been a hot coffee, it could have been a hot chocolate, it could have been something more dangerous, it could have been a weapon.

"Folks, what I'm always worried about is in those situations someone could get hurt," he said.

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Councillor Ford said he is determined to ensure a mayoral security detail is put in place for his brother.

"The next time it could be more serious. So at the end of the day, folks, we've got to overrule him. The people have decided. You always believe in democracy. The people have decided you're getting security," he said.

The mayor has previously refused to hire a driver, despite pleas from his brother and police after he was photographed apparently reading while driving on the Gardiner Expressway last summer.

At the time, he called hiring a driver a "waste of taxpayers' money."

As well Sunday, the Fords announced they would hold their planned Scarborough "Ford Fest" at Thomson Memorial Park.

The brothers announced the free event last week, saying it would be an eastern version of the family's annual barbecue in Etobicoke.

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"We said this year we're going to split it in two," Councillor Ford said.

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