Doug Ford says the woman who allegedly launched a drink at the mayor over the weekend did not appear to be thinking straight shortly after the incident.
The councillor for Etobicoke North and Mayor Rob Ford's brother spoke with the woman before police led her away from the scene of the bizarre episode, which happened Saturday afternoon at the Taste of Little Italy festival on College Street. According to Doug, the woman was immediately apologetic and appeared out of sorts.
"She said she was sorry, and she didn't mean to do it," Councillor Ford told reporters at City Hall Monday morning. "I can't accuse people, but she didn't seem like she was in her right mind at the time. Maybe she had a couple of sodas or whatever."
Pressed to clarify whether he meant that she was intoxicated, Councillor Ford said, "Well, I don't know. She just didn't seem right."
One witness to the scene said that the woman appeared to be close to tears after she was apprehended by a member of the mayor's staff.
Police have identified the alleged assailant as 27-year-old Shannon Everett. She has been charged with assault.
The strange confrontation has prompted some people to renew calls for the mayor to hire a security detail. Although the Ford brothers discussed it on their radio show on Sunday, Councillor Ford confirmed that the mayor hasn't committed to anything yet. The councillor is hoping that he does, not just for his own safety's sake but for that of those around him as well.
"At the end of the day he has to understand it's not about protecting the mayor," said Councillor Ford. "He has to understand there's staff there that he has the responsibility to protect. He has the responsibility to protect all the citizens at any event."
Controversial at the best of times, Mayor Ford has been under incredible pressure for the past four weeks as allegations that he smoked crack cocaine and may have had a relationship with an Etobicoke drug gang continue to bombard his administration. The drug allegations, which the mayor denies, have made headlines around the world and ratcheted up negative feelings among his many detractors.
On Monday, councillors NOW spoke to couldn't say whether the drug scandal and the drink-throwing incident were related, but they wouldn't rule it out either.
"Well you'd have to ask her," said Councillor Gloria Lindsay Luby of the alleged drink-tosser. "But obviously she's pretty disgusted, and that's why she did the action she did. She might have even surprised herself to do that."
"It's unfortunate. Hopefully people aren't going to physically attack the mayor, but it seems like there's always something" going on with Ford's administration, said Councillor Josh Colle. "Certainly this guy's pretty polarizing. So I'm sure there [are] some people who feel strongly. But it certainly crossed the line."
Colle said Ford should consider beefing up his security to some degree, but the councillor would be disappointed if the mayor was forced to resort to U.S.-style secret service protection.
"One of the things that's been always so great about Toronto City Hall is how accessible we all are, and you'd hate to lose that. But at the same time you don't want somebody in danger," Colle said.
Since being elected mayor, Rob Ford has steadfastly resisted hiring security or a driver, despite receiving threats and being caught in several embarrassing incidents behind the wheel. A devout cost-cutter, the mayor likes to keep his staff lean.
But one former member of his team has said the mayor maintains a level of independence unusual for a politician of his stature. Earlier this month, Adrienne Batra, his former press secretary, told TIME Magazine that while she worked for him, she only knew where he was "about 50 per cent of the time."
"He'd just disappear and you'd ask him where he was and he'd say, ‘Oh, around town,'" she told the magazine.