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BMW struck Toronto police Const. Northrup as it reversed: testimony


The BMW that killed Const. Jeffrey Northrup was reversing, not accelerating forwards, when it first hit the officer in the city hall parkade in July 2021, according to testimony from a police collision reconstructionist at the murder trial of the driver on Wednesday.

Det. Sgt. Jeff Bassingthwaite told the court that looking at marks on the pavement of the parkade, fingerprint evidence, as well as a grainy video that shows only part of the crash, he could conclude that Northrup had been hit by the driver’s side of Umar Zameer’s car as it backed up and turned.

“As the vehicle turned, its front end gets further out than the back end of the vehicle and as a result the pedestrian, Jeff Northrup, was struck by the front left fender in the area of the wheel as the wheel was reversing and subsequently he was knocked down,” Bassingthwaite told the jury.

The opinion was at odds with previous testimony from witness officers, who had said Northrup had been hit head-on by Zameer, despite identifying himself as a police officer as he and others in plainclothes hunted for a stabbing suspect in the parkade.

Zameer’s wife Aaida Shaikh has testified that she, Zameer, and her two-year-old son were downtown for Canada Day, and saw two people they didn’t know were police officers rush towards the car. Shaikh said she thought they were being attacked or robbed in a chaotic scene, and fled.

 Shaikh testified this week she never saw the car hit Northrup, though felt a bump as the car accelerated forwards. Her lawyer has said that this was no murder, just a tragic accident.

The jury also saw a three-dimensional view of the city hall parkade scene where Northrup was struck, created by a laser scan, as well as photos of evidence markers that showed the path the BMW took as it accelerated.

The grainy video, recorded at one frame per second, shows the BMW move forward, then backwards as it turns, and then accelerate forwards again. A gate arm also blocks the view of the incident.

Bassingthwaite referred to a single frame of that video that appears to show an unidentified object in front of the vehicle lying horizontally.

Photos of the BMW do not show any impact from a head-on collision but do show fingerprints on the driver's side that belong to Northrup, Bassingthwaite said.

Another three-dimensional view shows the scene where Zameer’s car was slammed into by an unmarked police vehicle, was arrested at gunpoint, and punched in the face, while another officer pulled his wife and two-year-old child out of the car.

In her testimony, Shaikh told the court she was devastated when she learned that Northrup had died and gave a statement to the officers on July 2 describing what had happened.

“Later that evening I went home to find out that the police, I’m sorry to say, they gave in the news, the complete opposite of what I had told him. They said we knew who the man and the lady were. They said that Umar intentionally murdered the police officer. I found that out on the news and I have never felt so betrayed,” she said. Top Stories

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