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Toronto cop had fallen to the ground when fatally struck, collision reconstructionist tells court

A collision reconstructionist is telling jurors he believes a Toronto police officer was knocked to the ground before he was fatally run over.

Toronto police officer Jeff Bassingthwaite is testifying at the trial of Umar Zameer, who has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Det. Const. Jeffrey Northrup.

Northrup died on July 2, 2021, after he was struck by a vehicle in an underground parking garage at Toronto City Hall.

Bassingthwaite says he concluded Northrup was knocked down by the car’s front left fender as it was backing up out of a parking space, then rolled under the vehicle as it accelerated forward down the laneway.

He says security footage from the garage shows a lighter coloured “unidentified object” on the ground below the front bumper, and he believes that object is Northrup. The officer says the video then shows the car’s front end rise as if going over a speedbump, but there were no speedbumps in the garage.

Three police officers who witnessed the incident previously testified Northrup was standing with his hands up when he was run over, but the defence says the officer had already been knocked to the ground when it happened.

Bassingthwaite told the court Wednesday the spot where the the object appeared on the ground aligns with the beginning of what he called a body scuff — a mark where a body comes into contact with the ground.

The scuff, which measured over six metres, contained clothing debris, including grommets and a button, and ended in a “large pool of blood,” he said, adding it suggests Northrup’s body was “tumbling and rolling” as it went under the vehicle.

Leading up to the scuff was an acceleration mark, also around six metres, he said.

Zameer’s wife, Aaida Shaikh, testified Tuesday that she had no idea they had hit a person until she heard it from investigators, and thought they had gone over a speed bump.

Shaikh told the court she and her husband didn’t know the people who rushed towards their car that night were police officers in plainclothes, and instead believed they were being attacked.

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