May the 4th has become a day in which fans around the world celebrate their love of Star Wars. Though Lucasfilm and Disney chip in with their own events, it’s still very much fan-led, with social media seeing an outpouring of fan art, discussions, memes and cosplay based on the characters. But it seems that the Lethbridge Police Department in Alberta, Canada didn’t quite get the message.
Judging by a video posted on social media, someone reported a woman cosplaying as an Imperial Stormtrooper in a parking lot as potentially posing a threat. Presumably, their matt-black E-11 blaster rifle was mistaken for something considerably deadlier. As such, several armed cops surrounded the clearly terrified woman, holding her at gunpoint, yelling at her to comply and eventually forcing her to the floor and handcuffing her. According to a commentator, the woman was an employee at a business running a Star Wars-themed May 4th promotion and was told to stand outside to advertise it.
Understandably, a considerable amount of anger has been directed at the cops for over-reacting. The woman is clearly dressed as a fantasy character holding a toy gun and applying some simple common sense would have defused the situation immediately. Among many others, Star Trek‘s William Shatner came to her defense, berating the cops for their response.
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. This cannot be covered up. ? https://t.co/b5bmllyfMU
— William Shatner (@WilliamShatner) May 6, 2020
Lethbridge police have defended their actions, claiming that this was all a big misunderstanding after they’d received “multiple 911 calls stating there was someone with a firearm” and that they have to take those calls seriously. My bet is that (if there ever really was a 911 call), the person did it maliciously as some kind of cruel joke on the employee. As such, I hope whoever’s responsible is being tracked down.
Word is that the incident is being “investigated,” by the Lethbridge Police Department, but we all know how thorough internal police investigations are. Whatever the case, I think it’s pretty damn clear who the real stormtroopers are here.