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Toronto police ask OPP for independent review after Zameer trial

Toronto’s police chief has asked the Ontario Provincial Police to conduct an independent review after a Superior Court judge’s comments during the trial of Umar Zameer.

A statement from the Office of the Chief says Myron Demkiw on Monday asked for a review into officer testimony, conduct, procedures, practices and training. Demkiw has also ordered a full internal review of all aspects of plainclothes policing, including equipment and procedures for officer and public safety.

The move comes a day after a jury found Zameer not guilty of all criminal charges in the death of Toronto police officer Det.-Const. Jeffrey Northrup nearly three years ago. 

On Sunday, Ontario Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy apologized to Zameer for all that he had been through during the last three years — something one legal expert noted as significant and unusual.

At separate points during the trial, Molloy questioned the Crown’s “morphing” position about what happened on July 2, 2021, at one point saying she didn’t see how the jury could convict Zameer of even the lesser second-degree murder charge. 

“Let’s just be blunt — I don’t see how they can get to second-degree murder on this evidence because of the expert report and video,” she had said.

Molloy told jurors before they began deliberating that it was her opinion there was no evidence to fully support the Crown’s theory, but that the defence’s theory aligned with the video, the experts, and the testimony of Zameer and his wife.

She also instructed jurors to consider the possibility of collusion between the witness officers, noting all three had the same incorrect memory of what happened.

On Sunday, Demkiw said the force was “hoping for a different outcome” in Zameer’s trial.

In the release Monday, he said, “As I have done my whole career, I respect the judicial process and I accept the decision of the jury. Perhaps closure in a tragic event of this magnitude will come with time.”

“As Chief, I was acknowledging the emotions many of us were feeling, while struggling with the death of a fellow officer, but of course, closure can never come at the expense of justice.”

More to come. 

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