Jury begins deliberations in trial of man accused of fatally running over Toronto cop

TORONTO — The fate of a man accused of fatally running over a Toronto police officer is now in the hands of the jury.

Umar Zameer has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Det. Const. Jeffrey Northrup.

Northrup died on July 2, 2021 after he was hit by a vehicle in an underground parking garage at Toronto City Hall.

At the heart of the case is whether Zameer meant to hit Northrup – or even knew it happened – and whether he knew Northrup and his partner, who were in plain clothes, were police officers.

Prosecutors say Zameer drove directly at Northrup, who they say was standing at the time, and made deliberate choices to drive dangerously while there were people nearby.

The defence argued Zameer did not intend to kill anyone and behaved reasonably in the face of what he thought was an imminent threat to his family as two unknown people rushed up to his car and began banging on it.

Zameer testified he did not see anyone in front of his car as he was driving forward. Two crash reconstruction experts, including one called by the Crown, told the court they concluded Northrup fell after the car made glancing contact with him while reversing, and was on the ground when he was run over.

The expert called by the defence said Northrup would have been in the car's blind zone and not visible to Zameer when on the ground.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 18, 2024.

The Canadian Press