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The wife of a man accused of running over a Toronto police constable told the officer who pulled her out of the car at gunpoint that she didn’t know they were police, court heard Tuesday.

Aaida Shaikh, who was eight months pregnant at the time, was crying and appeared scared when she was taken out of the BMW moments after the incident, said Const. Scharnil Pais, one of the two officers carrying out the takedown.

Court has heard Pais and his partner were in an unmarked police van that rammed into the BMW, which had already come to a stop by the parking barrier. The impact was enough to deploy the airbags in the van, Pais testified.

Pais said he identified himself as police and yelled at Shaikh to get out of the car, but when she didn’t, he opened the passenger side door and grabbed her wrist to pull her out. He said that’s when he noticed she was pregnant.

“We didn’t know you were cops,” he recalled Shaikh saying.

At some point, the officers – who were in plain clothes, meaning they were dressed like regular people – put on their police vests and Shaikh’s husband, Umar Zameer, was handcuffed and placed on the ground on the driver’s side of the car, court heard.

Pais previously testified he saw blood and flesh on the BMW’s bumper and told Zameer they had just run over an officer. He then told Zameer he was under arrest on charges of manslaughter and dangerous operation of a vehicle, court heard.

Zameer has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Det. Const. Jeffrey Northrup, who died after he was hit by a vehicle in an underground parking garage at Toronto City Hall shortly after midnight on July 2, 2021.

Court has heard Northrup’s partner stayed with him after he was struck, while Pais and his partner drove after Zameer’s car. Aside from Zameer and Shaikh, the couple’s two-year-old son was also in the car, court has heard.

During cross-examination Tuesday, the defence suggested that as soon as she heard an officer had been struck, Shaikh repeatedly expressed concern and asked if he was OK.

Pais acknowledged Shaikh inquired about Northrup’s condition multiple times but said he didn’t know if she had heard his comment about the officer being struck since it wasn’t directed at her. He also said he didn’t know when she asked if Northrup was OK.

Defence lawyer Nader Hasan pointed to Pais’s notes related to that night, saying the document suggests Shaikh asked after her husband was told an officer was struck, but Pais said his notes may not be in chronological order.

Court also heard Pais punched Zameer “in the face area” while the man was handcuffed on the ground.

The officer rejected the defence’s suggestion he did so because he was angry, saying he resorted to force because Zameer had not complied with his order to get up.

“I saw flesh and blood on the BMW. I ordered Mr. Zameer to get up, he didn’t comply … then I struck him, yes,” he said.

“In that situation, there was chaos. I had just seen Jeffrey Northrup … get run over by a vehicle,” there had been a gunpoint takedown and it appeared the parking barrier had already been broken, he later added.

Pais said he was concerned for Zameer’s safety given his prone position and the possibility that other vehicles were nearby, and wanted to move him to the other side of the vehicle.

When asked whether striking a handcuffed person was consistent with his training, Pais told the court officers are authorized “to strike people to gain compliance.”

Pais also faced questions Tuesday about a 2011 incident in which he and his then-partner were found guilty of professional misconduct. Court heard Pais was found guilty of conducting an unlawful arrest for his role in the arrest of four Black teenagers aged 14 to 16 who were walking in their apartment complex.

Court heard Pais’s partner arrested one of the teens for not identifying himself and at one point pulled out his gun. Pais prevented the teen’s three friends from helping him, and later arrested them on charges of assaulting an officer, court heard.

He challenged the finding of misconduct but it was upheld on appeal, court heard.

Court has heard Northrup and the other officers were investigating a stabbing when they went into the parking garage. Zameer was not involved in the stabbing, though he and his family had coincidentally walked past the victim earlier that night.

The victim had described the suspect as a heavyset, brown-skinned man, with a long beard and big hair, Northrup’s partner testified last week. Sgt. Lisa Forbes, who was a detective constable at the time, said they received information that the victim had come out of the garage, so they went to look for evidence.

Forbes told jurors they were looking to speak to anyone in the garage and she noticed Zameer had some similarities with the suspect description, namely the colour of his skin and that he had a beard, albeit not a long one.

Jurors have heard two drastically different narratives of the events leading up to Northrup’s death.

Prosecutors allege Zameer chose to make a series of manoeuvres with his vehicle while plainclothes officers were nearby. The defence, meanwhile, argues Northrup’s death was an accident, and Zameer and his pregnant wife were scared because they did not know the people approaching them were police.

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