The lawyer for the suspect charged with first-degree murder in connection with the death of a Toronto police officer earlier in July is asking the public to “keep an open mind” and “not rush to judgment” as the case navigates through the court process.
Nader Hasan, who represents 31-year-old Umar Zameer, addressed reporters outside a downtown Toronto court Friday afternoon after his client’s case was put over to another hearing on Aug. 13.
“When this matter goes to trial, the complete story of what took place in that city hall parking lot will emerge. It would be a mistake to assume that Mr. Zameer is guilty just because he has been charged with a very serious offence or because a dedicated public servant died on the job during this very tragic event,” he said.
“Thus far you’ve only been told of an allegation devoid of any context or detail about what is said to have taken place. When this matter goes to trial, the evidence — not conjecture, not speculation — will fill in that detail and context.”
Hasan also extended condolences on behalf of Zameer and his family to Const. Jeffrey Northrup’s family, calling the incident a “terrible, terrible tragedy for all of those involved.” He didn’t take any questions after his statement.
It was early on July 2 when Northrup, a 31-year veteran of the service, responded to a “priority call” at the underground garage. Police officials said the call was initially classified as a robbery call, but was subsequently upgraded to a stabbing.
The exact details surrounding the case haven’t been disclosed as a publication ban was put in place after Zameer first appeared in court. However, Northrup and his partner, who were in plainclothes at the time, responded to the call. Officers said Northrup was struck by a vehicle and was later rushed to a downtown hospital where he was later pronounced dead.
Zameer was arrested and subsequently charged with first-degree murder. The allegations against him haven’t been proven in court.
Toronto Police Chief James Ramer alleged the incident was an “intentional, deliberate attack.”
Thousands of various emergency services workers and officers attended a funeral for Northrup at BMO Field on July 12.