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New video evidence in Zameer trial shows moments of panic after Toronto police officer run over


Video evidence in the trial of a man accused of running over and killing a Toronto Police officer shows the panicked reaction of other drivers in the Toronto City Hall Parkade as plainclothes officers slammed their car into the suspect’s vehicle.

Two drivers in the midst of paying for parking in the early morning hours of July 2, 2021 both suddenly jerked forwards, smashing the gate arms at the Queen Street exit of the parkade under Nathan Phillips Square.

Immediately behind them, an unmarked police van had just slammed into a BMW and officers wearing street clothes had jumped out with guns drawn, looking for the driver who had just run over and killed Const. Jeffrey Northrup.

The dramatic events were referenced in the cross-examination Tuesday of Const. Scharnil Pais, one of the officers in the car chasing the BMW, which carried Umar Zameer, his pregnant wife and their two-year-old son.

“Did you know there was a toddler in the vehicle?” asked Zameer’s lawyer, Nader Hasan.

“I did not,” responded Pais.

“Did you know there was a pregnant woman in the vehicle?” Nader pressed.

“I did not,” said Pais.

Zameer is charged with first degree murder in Northrup’s death, which prosecutors have claimed was a deliberate act.

However his lawyer has said in court that Zameer reacted by trying to escape from what he thought were people trying to attack him late at night in the parkade, and didn’t know they were police officers.

Pais and Northrup's partner, Sgt. Lisa Forbes, have testified that Northrup and Forbes showed their badges and announced they were police officers when trying to stop Zameer's vehicle, though Zameer's lawyer has raised questions about their accounts.

Pais and his partner Tony Correa witnessed Northrup being run over and gave chase to the BMW, Pais testified.

They caught up to the BMW at the Queen Street exit to the parkade, and Correa, who was driving, slammed into the vehicle, Pais testified.

A screen grab from a video shows panicked response from drivers in the Toronto City Hall Parkade as plainclothes officers slammed their car into a suspect’s vehicle.

Pais jumped out to the passenger side with his gun drawn and pulled Zameer’s wife from the vehicle, who screamed there was a child in the car and told him they didn’t know the plainclothes officers were police.

Correa cuffed Zameer on the driver’s side. Pais testified he punched Zameer in the face area when Zameer didn’t follow commands – but in cross-examination it emerged that Zameer was already cuffed and on the ground.

“You punched him because you were angry,” Hasan said.

“I punched him because he didn’t get off the ground,” Pais responded.

Canadian law says that police are allowed to use reasonable force in their duties, but can’t use excessive force.

Hasan also took Pais through another incident where Pais was found to have committed misconduct when he arrested a group of Black teenagers on Toronto Community Housing property in 2011, known as the Neptune Four.

“You arrested them for assaulting police. But they didn’t assault anybody, correct?” Hasan asked.

“Subjectively, my belief was different at the time,” Pais responded. Top Stories

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