Closing Arguments Presented in Trial of Man Accused of Killing Toronto Police Officer

The trial of Umar Zameer, accused of running over and killing Toronto police officer Jeffrey Northrup, nears its conclusion as prosecutors and defense make closing arguments, with contrasting accounts of the tragic incident.

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Sakchi Khandelwal
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Closing Arguments Presented in Trial of Man Accused of Killing Toronto Police Officer

Closing Arguments Presented in Trial of Man Accused of Killing Toronto Police Officer

The manslaughter trial of Umar Zameer, who is accused of running over and killing Toronto police officer Det. Const. Jeffrey Northrup, is nearing its conclusion as prosecutors and defense lawyers make their closing arguments today in the trial of the accused for running over Northrup. Zameer has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Northrup, who died on July 2, 2021 after being hit by a vehicle in an underground parking garage at Toronto City Hall.

During closing arguments, defense lawyer Nader Hasan argued that Northrup's death was a "horrific tragic accident" and not a criminal act. Hasan claimed that Zameer, who was with his pregnant wife and toddler son at the time of the incident, did not know the plainclothes officers approaching his car were police and thought they were being ambushed by criminals. Panicked, Zameer tried to escape, but accidentally struck Northrup with his vehicle.

The prosecution, however, alleged that Zameer made a series of maneuvers with his car while the officers were nearby, hitting Northrup and crushing him under the vehicle. Three police officers, including Northrup's partner, testified that Northrup was standing with his hands up when he was fatally struck.

Zameer testified that he did not know Northrup and his partner were police officers, and that he was trying to drive away quickly to save his family from what he believed to be robbers. The defense experts concluded in an article that Northrup was knocked down by the car reversing and was already on the ground when he was run over, and that he would not have been visible to Zameer due to the car's blind zone.

Security footage of the parking garage shows an unidentified object, believed to be Northrup, appearing on the ground in front of the car as it drove forward, but Northrup is not visible at any other point in the video. The trial presented contrasting accounts during closing arguments of the events leading to Northrup's death.

Why this matters: The tragic death of Det. Const. Jeffrey Northrup and the trial of Umar Zameer have attracted significant attention in Toronto and across Canada. The outcome of this case could have implications for how plainclothes police operations are conducted and how such incidents are handled by the justice system.

When the trial comes to a close, the jury will soon decide whether Zameer's actions were a tragic accident or an intentional act. The judge will provide legal instructions to the jury before they begin their deliberations. The contrasting testimony from police officers and expert witnesses, along with the limited security footage, have presented challenges in determining the exact sequence of events that led to Northrup's death.

Key Takeaways

  • Umar Zameer on trial for manslaughter of Toronto police officer Jeffrey Northrup
  • Defense claims Northrup's death was a "tragic accident", not a criminal act
  • Prosecution alleges Zameer made maneuvers to hit and crush Northrup with car
  • Security footage shows unidentified object, believed to be Northrup, on ground
  • Outcome could impact how plainclothes police operations are conducted