Canadians have a reputation of being super nice to everyone, but don’t try walking around in a “Star Wars” stormtrooper outfit carrying a fake blaster, cuz’ the cops will bloody you up.
A woman in Lethbridge, Alberta, was walking along the street in full regalia to promote a nearby Star Wars-themed restaurant on May 4, or “May the Fourth.” The day is celebrated by Star Wars fans because it sounds like “may the force” be with you.
Drumming up business outside the Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina, she was encouraged passersby to come into the restaurant, all the while marching like the evil stormtroopers in the movies. For authenticity, she was carrying a fake blaster gun (you know, the kind the stormtroopers use when they shoot at — and invariably miss — Luke Skywalker and Han Sol0 and all the rest).
Then the cops showed up.
“Get down on the ground!” officers yelled. “Lay down on the ground! On your belly!”
As police continued to yell at her, the owner of the restaurant, Brad Whelan, tells them, “It’s a plastic gun.” Then an officer with a long gun tells him: “Go back inside!”
In the cellphone video, the camera doesn’t catch the moment the police take her down, but it must’ve been hard because she suffered a bloody nose. As she’s being handcuffed, you can hear her sobbing.
“Whalen told CBC News the police appeared to continue with the takedown even after his employee had thrown the plastic gun to the ground. She was handcuffed while face-down on the pavement, which left her with a bloody nose, he said.”
Lethbridge Police Service said in a statement that they had received two 911 calls reporting a person in a stormtrooper costume carrying a firearm.
“Upon police arrival the subject dropped the weapon but did not initially comply with further police directions to get down on the ground,” police said, adding the weapon was ultimately confirmed to be fake.
Said the statement:
[T]he female subject, who indicated she was an employee promoting a local business, was not charged. The female sustained a minor injury but did not require medical attention.
Upon reviewing the file and additional information, including video circulating on social media, Chief Scott Woods has directed a service investigation under the Alberta Police Act that will look into whether the officers’ acted appropriately within the scope of their training and LPS policies and procedures.
As the matter is now under investigation, police will not conduct interviews or comment further in order to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation.
The store owner said it was all overkill, CBC reported.
“I understand with everything that happened in Nova Scotia that police worry about things like that, but, it’s Star Wars Day,” he said, in a reference to the recent tragedy when a man killed 22 people in a shooting rampage.
“Our signs on the front of the building say ‘Star Wars.’ We were playing Star Wars music. It’s a stormtrooper, with a stormtrooper blaster. You know, you have to use a little bit of common sense.”