In a video that has gone viral, police in Lethbridge, Alberta, can be seen converging on, surrounding, with weapons drawn, and handcuffing a woman dressed as a stormtrooper in celebration of May the Fourth after they received multiple “firearms” complaints over the woman’s obviously fake, plastic Star Wars blaster. Video of the arrest shows the woman crying hysterically while her boss tells police, “It’s a plastic gun!”
A “May the Fourth Be With You” promo by Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina quickly escalated into an alarming situation, owner Bradley Whalen told Lethbridge News Now on Monday.
“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,” Whalen told the outlet.
One of Whalen’s female employees got into full costume that morning with the plan to promote the restaurant and interact with passersby. One of those potential costumers filmed his interaction with the employee — then ended up catching the stunning police response to the harmless promotional stunt.
Whalen told LNN that he believes that some residents must have somehow mistaken the employee’s plastic blaster for a real gun and contacted police, a suspicion confirmed by Lethbridge Police Service (LPS) Inspector Jason Walper, who told LNN that the department received two “firearms” complaints directing them to the block where the stormtrooper-dressed employee was marching around.
The incident comes a few weeks after 22 people were killed in a mass shooting in Nova Scotia, prompting an “assault-style weapons” ban in the country.
“At approximately 11:20 am, three police cruisers arrived and a truck followed shortly after,” LNN reports.
“Police officers had guns drawn, pointed at my employee,” Whalen told LNN. “They were yelling at her to put the gun down so she threw the plastic gun on the ground. At that point in time when I came out, she was on her knees kneeling down on the ground. The police had already checked and seen that the gun was plastic so they already knew that there wasn’t an issue or a risk there.”
Though video shows that the “stormtrooper” indeed dropped her plastic blaster, Walper claims that she “did not comply with the police verbal directions,” only finally complying “after multiple repeated orders given by the police officers.”
“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,” the restaurant owner told LNN. “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. She dropped the gun when they told her to and just forcing her, making her get down on the ground after they determined that she wasn’t a risk and that the gun wasn’t even a real gun, it was a plastic Star Wars blaster.”
The video shows the employee getting on her knees, at which point, the officer “pushed the individual down to the ground,” as Walper admitted, and handcuffed her.
“As a result of being pushed to the ground, the employee had a bloodied nose,” LNN reports. “Neither Whalen nor Walper could confirm if she had suffered any other injuries.”
The video captures the employee crying loudly as she is lying on the ground being handcuffed. LNN cites evidence of “blood stains on the concrete.”
Video of the incident has been posted on YouTube and spread on Twitter (warning: language):
Unbelievable, just got video of this.
*What the hell happened to common sense:
Girl dressed up as a stormtrooper on may4th facing 3 cops with weapons drawn. You can hear her sobbing. I USED TO dress up with the 501st. Probably not anymore @KinelRyan @DDayCobra #FandomMenace https://t.co/x2HrNLMtOL pic.twitter.com/YrS9bBFJVn
— X E V I U S S ? (@xeviuss) May 5, 2020
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