Alberta police arrest woman dressed in Stormtrooper costume on Star Wars day
Alberta police arrested a woman dressed as a Stormtrooper in Lethbridge, Alta. on Monday, May 4 — unofficially known as "Star Wars Day" — after receiving multiple complaints of a firearm.
The Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina employee was dressed up as part of a Star Wars Day promotion that quickly went awry.
Cafe owner Bradley Whalen told LNN that the female employee arrived at the cafe at 10:00 a.m. and went out in full costume about 20 minutes later. At about 11:20 a.m., three police cruisers arrived and pointed guns at the employee.
They instructed the employee to put the plastic gun on the ground, which she did immediately.
After the employee complied, Lethbridge police pushed the individual to the ground and put her in handcuffs.
According to LNN, the employee had a bloodied nose as a result of being pushed to the ground. She can also be heard crying out in the video as officers handcuff her.
"She kept yelling at them that she couldn’t kneel down because, in that stormtrooper costume, you can't even sit down in it, like it's impossible to sit down," Whalen said. "She kept telling them that she couldn't get down is what she explained to me after we talked to her."
"It wasn't a matter of her not wanting to cooperate."
Lethbridge Police Service Inspector Jason Walper says that the incident was a misunderstanding.
"Any time our officers are responding to something that's very spontaneous where there's a weapon involved, our first responsibility is to ensure we can create a safe environment for the officers, for the public, and the individual itself," Walper said.
"So certainly, their first response is to deal with that weapon and remove the weapon from the person, take the person into custody, and then allow us to follow up with that investigation to determine exactly what occurred."
Facing mounting backlash, Lethbridge Police are now launching a service investigation into the actions of officers on the scene.
LPS has initiated a service investigation into the actions of several officers who responded to a report of a firearms complaint Monday morning. A public update will be provided after the investigation has been completed and reviewed. #yql https://t.co/hny6aoHYyo— Lethbridge Police (@lethpolice) May 5, 2020
"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," the statement reads.
Police will provide an update to the public once the investigation is complete.
According to the police statement, the employee suffered a "minor injury" but did not require medical attention. No charges against her were filed.
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