Man accused of 1st-degree murder in death of Toronto constable released on bail, Ford and Tory seek answers
Posted September 22, 2021 12:40 pm.
Last Updated September 22, 2021 9:55 pm.
The man accused of killing Toronto Police Const. Jeffrey Northrup in early July was released on $335,000 bail, his lawyer confirmed on Wednesday.
Investigators have charged 31-year-old Umar Zameer with first-degree murder. A conviction on that charge comes with an automatic life sentence.
The conditions of his bail include being under house arrest, being banned from driving, has to wear an electronic ankle bracelet and has to surrender his passport.
Zameer’s next court appearance is scheduled for October 1st.
Zameer’s lawyer cautioned the public not to pass judgment too quickly, saying people “have been told only of an allegation.”
“Mr. Zameer’s family is very pleased with the outcome of today’s hearing. They welcome him home. I know it comes amidst a tragedy for Officer Northrup’s family, and again express my condolences,” wrote Zameer’s legal representative, Nader R. Hasan, in a statement to 680 NEWS.
“The publication ban prevents me from discussing the evidence from the hearing or the reasons that led to the Court to conclude that Mr. Zameer should get bail. We have advised the Court and the Crown of our intention to seek to vary the terms of the publication ban so that the public will better understand this case and why the Court reached this decision.”
Hasan says he understands why the public is interested in this high-profile case.
“When an individual charged with a serious crime has been granted bail, the public is inevitably curious about the reason. We can only respond that there is much more to this case and to this tragic situation than meets the eye. In due course, this will become clear. And, as I mentioned, I will be asking the Court to release a portion of its Reasons on the bail hearing,” he said.
Const. Northrup, from 52 Division, was among several police officers investigating a robbery that happened near City Hall when he was struck and killed by a car. Police Chief James Ramer said Zameer was initially outside of the vehicle when the two officers approached him.
Const. Northrup was rushed to the hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.
Investigators have described it as an intentional act.
Premier Doug Ford says the decision to release the 31-year-old out on bail is “beyond comprehension.”
“It’s completely unacceptable that the person charged for this heinous crime is now out on bail. Our justice system needs to get its act together and start putting victims and their families ahead of criminals,” Ford wrote.
This is beyond comprehension. It’s completely unacceptable that the person charged for this heinous crime is now out on bail. Our justice system needs to get its act together and start putting victims and their families ahead of criminals. https://t.co/91l5PO0nDM
— Doug Ford (@fordnation) September 22, 2021
Mayor John Tory also weighed in on Zameer’s bail conditions.
“Our city continues to mourn the death of Const. Northrup. It is almost impossible to imagine a circumstance in which an accused in a case of first-degree murder would be granted bail,” Tory wrote on Twitter.
“The fact we don’t know the reasons why the presiding judge made such an extraordinary decision thanks to a publication ban is very troubling, it is wrong and represents one more argument supporting my longstanding call for bail reform.”
In a subsequent tweet, Tory called for “the reasons that lie behind such a questionable decision.”
Northrup is the first Toronto Police officer to die in the line of duty since Const. John Zivcic in 2013.
The police force veteran had been with the Toronto Police Service for more than 30 years. He is survived by his wife, three children and mother.