During the summer of 2013, the city of Toronto was gripped by a sensational rumor: its mayor was living a double life and investigative journalists claimed to have seen a video of the mayor smoking crack cocaine. The mayor vehemently denied that any such video existed and began to attack the newspapers and even individual journalists. Several local gangsters who appeared in a photograph with the mayor started disappearing: either shot on the street, stabbed in prison, or thrown from a balcony. The police had wiretaps but they needed even more, so they submitted their evidence to a judge who granted warrants to support a deeper investigation.
I obtained the police documentation and constructed a multipartite graph that connected people, locations, phone calls, events, and social groups. I then visualized this graph and published the work online at http://rofo.ca. There was even some media coverage at the time.
In the three years since, Rob Ford has died of cancer, but not before first admitting that he habitually smoked crack. The video was real, and it has been published by the newspaper who originally claimed to have it. The police dropped the investigation because the victims stopped cooperating with investigators.
This entry was originally written September 12, 2016.