May the 4th was a couple of days ago, but I think this story is worth mentioning. In Lethbridge, Canada a 19 year old woman was dressed as a Stormtrooper to promote the restaurant she works at called “Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina” for the fan holiday.
Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina is a Star Wars themed restaurant that had one of their staffers dress up in a Star Wars costume. They said most of her time was spent walking back and forth and waving at people. She even posed for photos. Restaurants do stuff like this all the time for promotion and we see the posing for photos at cosplay focused events all the time.
Apparently someone called the police after seeing her prop blaster and said that she had a gun. Which led the police to respond quickly and demand she get on the ground, when she didn’t do it right away they drew guns. The problem was she apparently couldn’t hear them with the helmet on, but she put the “gun” down and got on her knees to comply. Plus it is incredibly hard to move in those types of costumes. They kept yelling at her to “get on the ground” but she doesn’t seem to hear them, and you even see her grabbing at her helmet trying to decide what to do.
Braley Whalen explains the costume to NBC:
“When she was told to drop the blaster, she did,” he said. Whalen said it was also difficult to move in the $1,200 costume, which he decided to use for the promotion when showing “Star Wars” films to customers wasn’t an option for May 4.
“That’s what she was trying to yell,” he said. “You can’t kneel. You can’t sit when you wear it.”
The fake gun was away from her in front of one of the officers before they pushed her to the ground. Someone from the restaurant was yelling “it’s a plastic gun.”
Then you can hear the poor girl sobbing as they forced her down and handcuffed her. She even suffered a nose bleed over the ordeal and then after it was over there were no charges pressed against her, because it wasn’t a real gun.
A passer by caught it on video. Now I do want to point out that he drove by earlier and talked her her and was teasing and telling her to “dance” and “march” and stuff. She did raise the gun and point it at him because he was being annoying. Maybe other people mocked her and she did that first? Who knows.
But even the person filming tries to tell them it’s a plastic gun in the video.
Here’s the video from where it starts with the police (warning language):
Then the police back the truck to block the person from filming what they were doing, after he and the shop owner told him it was a plastic gun.
Whalen, the restaurant owner had this to say:
“The decor inside, that’s what our signs have Star Wars, [we are] the Galactic Cantina, so we use a lot of references from Star Wars.”
“We wanted to do something different… just something to let people know that we are here. She was kind of walking out back-and-forth in front of the property by the sidewalk, just waving at people, and a couple people stopped by and got a picture with her.”
According to the Daily Mail:
“He says that the female employee had been outside promoting the restaurant for about an hour before cops arrived with their guns drawn.
‘She had, at that point, been down on her knees, her blaster — the plastic blaster she was using — had been over by the corner of the parking lot, the police had already looked at it. They picked it up and had seen that it was just a plastic prop.”
Global News had this quote from Mr. Whalen:
“My concern isn’t that police responded to someone who called and reported. My problem is that after they determined that it was a fake prop, police still continued to yell at her with the guns pointed, telling her to, ‘get down on her face, get down on her face,’ and then proceeded to handcuff her after they knew that it was a plastic prop toy,” said Whalen.”
Why they might have overreacted:
Now that part where she is “pushed down” isn’t visible in the video so we can’t confirm, but she was kneeling then was face down. The police might have been so aggressive because Canada just had the mass shooing in Nova Scotia recently, so it’s understandable that they are being extra careful right now, but if they saw it was a prop and still shoved her down, that was unnecessary.
Now the officers involved are being investigated as there’s a video and backlash
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
There are over 1.2k comments to the post. I really liked this comment, because as someone who has been a guest and a vendor at numerous comic and anime conventions it’s basically what I thought of too:
The same cops show up to a comic convention like: pic.twitter.com/vAZgdwyHM5
— LesDilemma 🧀 (@LesDilemma) May 6, 2020
At this time it’s being investigated. I was surprised they didn’t have paint or tape on the end of the “gun” but maybe that’s just here in the United States?
Thankfully she wasn’t hurt worse than she was and hopefully it all gets straightened out.
What do you think? Comment and let us know.