Apparently you just need an obvious innocence to waken the sleeping public? So now many official entities are questioning why Umar Zameer was charged with first degree murder. Let us roll back the tape…

A collision reportedly occurred in the underground parking garage of Toronto’s City Hall in July of 2021. The collision occurred as plainclothes police officers, including Constable Jeffrey Northrup, approached a parked BMW driven by Umar Zameer, for an unclarified reason. A witness police officer, Constable Tony Correa stated with respect to Constable Northrup’s actions: “His hands hit the hood. He goes up in the air. He bounces off the hood of the car. He lands forward on the floor”. The reported (by CTV news) motions of the BMW in a security video showed “Zameer’s car lurching forward, reversing, and then turning and driving towards the camera position”. The type of contact described by Constable Correa does not appear to be consistent with the lack of vehicle damage as shown in the court exhibit of the BMW shown below.

This front view of the Zameer BMW shows no obvious evidence of damage.

The reason for Zameer’s actions was that he did not know the persons at his vehicle were plainclothes police officers. He thought they were trying to rob him and so he fled. His vehicle was eventually rammed by another unmarked police vehicle and he was subsequently arrested. It is notable that during that arrest Constable Scharnil Pais punched Zameer in the face.

Toronto Police Chief James Ramer was quoted as saying the incident was “deliberate and intentional” and that the officers were wearing police identification at the time (CTV news). Zameer was charged with first degree murder.

For a long time after this incident no information was allowed to be revealed because there was a ban placed on the publication of evidence. But, in typical fashion, news media quoted various dignitaries, who apparently knew nothing about the details of the incident including Toronto Mayor John Tory, Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford, former Police Chief Bill Blair, and Toronto Police Association President Jon Reid. While they expressed their condolences, none came out to emphasize that they knew very little about the incident and that conclusions should be withheld until further information was known.

It was reported that police were in the parking garage as a result of a reported stabbing. So they were there to “look for evidence”. But it is unclear why the search for evidence resulting in approaching the Zameer BMW to the point that police had to be closeby when Zameer was making his movements out of his parked location. Nor was it clear why police needed to be in plainclothes to collect the evidence about the stabbing. And if the police had worn body camera’s much of the speculation about what occurred might have been nullified.

Zameer’s trial did not commence until March, 2024 or approaching 3 years after the incident.

During the trial prosecutors maintained that “Zameer chose to make a series of manoeuvres with his car that caused Northrup’s death”. Police reportedly banged on Zameer’s window and Zameer drove forward to avoid them. But Zameer’s forward motion was terminated when an unmarked police SUV blocked his path, so he reversed his BMW into the lane before accelerating forward toward the exit. He ran over something that he thought was a speed bump which turned out to be Constable Northrup’s body. Zameer’s perceptions were also affected by his pregnant wife’s stress and his crying son in the back seat.

The testimony from three police officers all provided the same description that Constable Northrup had been standing in front of the BMW and was fully visible to Zameer when he accelerated forward in the laneway. This version was not supported by two experts from the defense and the prosecution who concluded that Northrup was on the ground when he was run over.

Eventually a jury found Zameer innocent of all charges and the judge offered to Zameer “my deepest apologies for what you’ve been through”.

The trial judge raised concerns about the prosecution’s case and even came to the suspicion that the three witness officers who provided their statements colluded to provide a false account of what transpired. Subsequently, Toronto’s Police Chief, Myron Demkiw, announced an independent investigation by the Ontario Provincial Police to shed light on how the prosecution occurred with involvement of the Toronto Police.


Some news media are now questioning why a decision was made to prosecute Zameer for first degree murder. Comments made by several local defense lawyers suggested that it should have been clear that the evidence did not support such a charge. Mr. Zameer’s lawyer, Nader Hasan, expressed his belief that the prosecutors in the case were pressured by their superiors to follow through with the charges.

One defense lawyer was quoted in a Canadian Press article as saying “They’re trying to turn something that isn’t a murder into a murder”. The same lawyer also said “The premier of Ontario was putting his thumb on the scales of justice and infecting the public’s views about how they should view this man”. This comment was made in relation to Premier Doug Ford’s criticism of the decision in the fall of 2021 to release Zameer on bail.

The results of the Zameer trial have spurred a renewed interest in Ontario’s justice system and justice as a whole. While there has been previous discussion about the ideals of being innocent until proven guilty, the practical reality is that in many instances that ideal is not met. The Zameer case demonstrates that you may be in jeopardy of being found guilty due to pressure exerted from certain interest groups or persons of high influence. When someone dies, someone has to pay, and a scapegoat continues to be found even when the evidence does not support the charge.

Premier Doug Ford has shown a continued lack of respect for the justice system by interjecting his will to influence it at inappropriate instances. In can be recalled from the past that he tried to appoint one of his friends into the position of OPP Commissioner even though other candidates were more qualified. He also talked about appointing “like-minded judges” who would prevent persons from being released on bail, seemingly ignoring the facts surrounding any specific case. Problems in the justice system grow roots from the top down so that, when the Premier is not an ethical person, he surrounds himself with persons of similar calibre and this process filters through to the rest of the system.

The Family: The Godfather selects his family of accomplices and then attempts to influence the justice system for the benefit of himself and the family.

Respectable members of the justice system cannot function properly when they become accountable to persons who are unethical and corrupt. There is evidence of this dysfunction in all levels and areas of Ontario’s justice system. Inappropriate behavior becomes acceptable and condoned when the upper echelons of the justice system are themselves part of the inappropriate behavior. The possibility of collusion by three witness police officers in the Zameer trial, is an example which suggests that this inappropriate behaviour was not kept in check by those whose responsibility it was to provide that oversight. And the first degree murder charge against Zameer is another example of the inappropriate action of the justice system. It still has not been resolved who was actually responsible for applying the pressure to lay that charge.