Justin Trudeau just announced the banning of “assault-style fireams” in Canada a few days ago. Who knew that included Imperial blasters.
As some of you may be aware, yesterday was Star Wars Day. It’s not an official holiday but it’s an annual day for fans of the movies to deploy a well known play on words, “May the 4th be with you.” That phrase has been around for at least 41 years. So long before people were saying “it’s a thing,” Star Wars Day was a thing.
Anyway, yesterday a little restaurant in Alberta, Canada called the Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina decided to do a little Star Wars-style promotion on Star Wars Day by having one of the employees walk around the parking lot dressed as a stormtrooper. This was basically just a nerdy version of those sign-flippers you see on the sidewalk sometimes. At least that’s all it should have been, but it all went horribly wrong.
Someone who saw the fully decked out stormtrooper marching in the parking lot apparently called the police because she was holding a plastic blaster. Actually, according to the police, two people who saw the stormtrooper called 911:
“We had music playing in the parking lot, we had one of our staff dress up as a stormtrooper kind of waving to people walking up and down the road, we had people stopping by and getting pictures with the stormtrooper, we put a couple of promotions on in the restaurant to entice people to come.”The female employee arrived for work at 10:00 am on Monday, May 4, and went out in full costume around 20 minutes later.
He believes that some members of the public must have seen her brandishing a plastic toy blaster believing it was a real gun and phoned police. Lethbridge Police Service (LPS) Inspector Jason Walper says they got two 911 calls regarding a firearms complaint near the business on 13 Street North.
At approximately 11:20 am, three police cruisers arrived and a truck followed shortly after.
So it only took an hour before the locals called the police twice. That’s bad enough but it still should have been the end of the story. Once police arrived, you would think they’d see what was going on and just relax a bit. But instead, three police cars showed up. Officers pulled their guns and pointed them at the employee. There ordered her to drop her plastic weapon, which she did. Then the police ordered her to get down on the ground and she tried to explain to them that she couldn’t really do that very well in the costume. “It wasn’t a matter of her not wanting to cooperate,” the store owner said later.
Maybe the police couldn’t hear her because of the mask but they just kept shouting at her to get down even though it should have been obvious at this point that a) the gun was a plastic toy and b) this was a Star Wars costume not a threat to anyone. By this point, the owner of the store heard the police yelling and came outside. He shouted to the police that the gun was plastic but they were intent on making sure the neighborhood was safe from cosplayers and warned the owner to stay back.
Eventually the girl got down on her knees and police then demanded she get down on her belly. There’s a video (see below) of most of this but you can’t see the exact moment when she actually goes down on her face. According to the store owner, the police pushed her down, causing her to hit her nose on the inside of the plastic helmet. That left her with a bloody nose. There’s a photo at this link showing several drops of blood left on the parking lot.
With their suspect down, the police proceeded to handcuff the woman as she cried out in pain. When the guy with the camera approached, one of the officers warned him to stay back or he’d be arrested as well.
After the video below was released, the local police chief said there would be an investigation of the officers’ behavior:
“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,” reads a statement from LPS.
The police service reiterated the claims from Inspector Jason Walper that “the subject dropped the weapon but did not initially comply with further police directions to get on the ground.”
The “weapon” was eventually determined to not be legitimate and the employee was not charged.
I like how the police chief refers to the plastic gun carried by a girl in a Star Wars costume as “the weapon.” Look, I realize police can’t always assume a gun that might be a toy is a toy but in this case, the costume was a pretty big hint. The same goes for the dopes who saw this girl and immediately called 911. In any case, once “the weapon” was down they could have toned it way down.
Here’s the complete clip. As you’ll see, the person filming this first rolls up on the stormtrooper and wants her to dance or march or something. When she won’t do that, he drives away. But when he returns a while later, there are three police cars with flashing lights.
Update: Captain Kirk is ready to throw these cops in the brig.