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Outside police agency to review how officers handled run-in with costumed worker


LETHBRIDGE, Alta. — An outside police agency is to investigate the actions of officers who forced a restaurant worker in a "Star Wars'' storm-trooper costume to the ground in southern Alberta.

The 19-year-old employee, who had agreed to don the white uniform of a Galactic Empire soldier and carry a plastic gun, ended up with a bloody nose.

Lethbridge police said earlier this week that the costumed woman dropped the toy weapon, but didn't get down on the ground when officers responding to a firearms call asked her to do so.

Brad Whalen said it should have been obvious that the getup was a way to get attention for his Star-Wars-themed restaurant on May 4 — a popular day with fans of the movie franchise because of the famous line: "May the force be with you.''

He also said the costume makes it difficult to hear and move.

Lethbridge police say it's been determined that their investigation was "out of scope," so it has been assigned to the Medicine Hat Police Service.

They say the woman, who was not charged, had a minor injury that did not require medical attention.

A video of the encounter, shared on social media, shows an officer standing by the toy blaster while Whalen yells from the restaurant door that it's fake.

"Star Trek" actor William Shatner, who played Captain Kirk in another mega-sci-fi movie and television franchise, tweeted boldly about his criticism of what happened.

"Captain’s Log Stardate 49: Sending my contempt this morning to the @lethpolice of Alberta, Canada & @LPSChief1. Rifles drawn for a plastic toy Cosplayer? Didn’t comply right away? Are you blind Chief? Watch the video to see how quickly she complied," he posted Tuesday.

"This cannot be covered up."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2020

The Canadian Press

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