To celebrate International Star Wars Day on May 4, a teenager in Canada put on a stormtrooper costume and started marching around outside of Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina, a Star Wars-themed restaurant, in Lethbridge, Alberta.
The 19-year-old, who works at the restaurant, was trying to attract customers and was armed with a toy blaster rifle. The plastic gun sparked concerns, and police received two 911 calls.
When officers arrived, they surrounded the girl with their guns drawn and ordered her to get down on the ground. She dropped the blaster rifle and put her hands up as she tried to explain that she couldn't get down on the ground because of her costume.
"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," her boss, Bradley Whalen, told Lethbridge News Now.
Eventually, she managed to get down on her knees, but that wasn't good enough for the officers, who told her to lay down on her stomach.
The officers eventually forced her to the ground and put her in handcuffs. She suffered a bloody nose during the takedown but did not require medical attention. Video of the arrest was posted on Twitter.
Whalen told the Calgary Herald, he had no problem with the fact that the police showed up, and understands people are on high alert after Canada enacted an assault weapons ban.
“We don’t have an issue with the fact that police responded,” Whalen said. “We have an issue with how they responded.”
Whalen believes the officers should have used common sense and realized immediately that the blaster rifle was a toy, and this employee posed no threat.
“Sometimes, you really have to use common sense,” Whalen told CTV News. “When all the things fit in the box – you’ve got the signs, you’ve got the music, the atmosphere. A duck is a duck while it’s walking like a duck.”
The teen was released without charges, and officials said they will investigate the incident.