'Crystal clear': Toronto police chief accepts, supports Umar Zameer acquittal

Toronto's police chief says he wants to make it clear he accepts and supports the not-guilty verdict delivered by a jury in the trial of a man accused of fatally running over a police officer.

Umar Zameer was acquitted Sunday in the death of Det. Const. Jeffrey Northrup, who was hit by a vehicle in an underground parking garage at Toronto City Hall nearly three years ago. Zameer had pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and testified he didn’t know Northrup and his partner – who were in plain clothes – were police officers.

Police Chief Myron Demkiw was seen hugging Northrup's widow after the verdict was announced and said that day that police respect the judicial process but "were hoping for a different outcome."

Demkiw says today that he wants to be "crystal clear" that he supports and accepts the jury's verdict.

The comments come a day after Demkiw announced that his force has asked Ontario Provincial Police to conduct an independent review into the case after "adverse comments" made by the judge presiding over the trial. Demkiw has also ordered a full internal review of all aspects of plainclothes policing.

Demkiw says he'll try to be as transparent as possible about the findings of the OPP review and is working on rebuilding the public's trust by examining the circumstances of the case.

In her final instructions, Ontario Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy told jurors they had to consider the possibility the three officers who witnessed the incident had colluded.

She also said there was no evidence to fully support the Crown's theory that Northrup was hit while standing out of view of a security camera.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 23, 2024.

The Canadian Press