TORONTO — Mayor Rob Ford can’t seem to go anywhere without attracting headlines and poorly-lit selfies.
Within a day of landing in Vancouver with his family -- to attend a memorial for the mother of friend and former staffer David Price -- the high-profile Toronto mayor was ticketed for jaywalking and photographed at a crowded bar.
Ford’s spokesman Amin Massoudi confirmed via email that Ford received a ticket for jaywalking but nothing else.
Ford told QMI Agency he was “speechless” when he was cited for jaywalking near a Shell gas station on the Burnaby-Coquitlam border Friday night.
“I am in shock,” the mayor told reporter Joe Warmington moments after it happened. “I was just walking across the street about 200 feet from my hotel when I was approached by an officer and told I was jaywalking. I couldn’t believe it. I said to them ‘Am I under arrest?’”
He said the RCMP told him he violated the rules as a pedestrian.
“I was speechless,” he said. “I am perplexed.”
Ford also denied that he’d been drinking.
“All I have had here is a Diet Coke,” Ford said. “What happened here is not right.”
Ford said he was walking to a Chinese restaurant with friends when he police approached him.
He described a female officer telling him that he had “crossed the street against a red light” and issued him and Price a ticket.
“It was for $109 for disobeying a pedestrian sign,” Ford said. “I said, ‘You have got to be kidding’ ... ‘Are you guys serious?’”
The mayor said the officer then brought over a supervisor.
“I said, ‘I can’t believe this,’” said Ford. “They went out of their way to do this. I said ‘I support you guys. Did you arrest me because I am a Broncos fan?’”
Price said they were doing nothing but heading to a restaurant.
“We were harassed,” said Price. “It wasn’t such a big deal (crossing the street).”
Ford said he was embarrassed as people were taking his picture during the incident.
“What a waste of taxpayers’ money,” the mayor said.
The RCMP in B.C. did not respond to a request for comment.
Pictures posted to social media throughout Friday night showed Ford surrounded by young people who were partying.
Hashtags such as #hotmess, #foggydew, #legendary and #whatwashethinking accompanied the images.
One young woman told QMI Agency she was at the Coquitlam, B.C., bar Foggy Dew with friends when she photographed Ford.
Ford seemed to be “tipsy” and “slurring his words,” said the woman, who asked her name be withheld. She could not confirm if she saw him drinking alcohol.
Ford was like a “normal celebrity,” she said, as people were “talking to him, asking him questions, nothing crazy.”
“He was just like chitter chatter, being all like nice,” she said.
-- With files from Don Peat