‘Stormtrooper’ promoting reopened Star Wars restaurant manhandled by police

“Ironically enough, she wasn’t a Star Wars fan,” Whalen said. “I don’t think she will be a Star Wars fan.”

By David Isaac, World Israel News 

Maybe coronavirus may have had police in southern Alberta, Canada a little too much on edge. They’re under investigation after they forced a restaurant worker dressed as a Star Wars stormtrooper to lie on her stomach.

She ended up with a bloody nose, the National Post reported on Tuesday.

Brad Whalen, the owner of the Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina in Lethbridge, said the police should have been able to figure out the young girl, 19, dressed up in full stormtrooper regalia, was not a threat.

Lethbridge police say that they came to the restaurant after a call about reports of a person walking around in a stormtrooper costume carrying a firearm.

According to a police press release on Tuesday, the “stormtrooper” didn’t immediately comply with the order to drop her  weapon.

Whalen questions that account. He said when the police arrived “she immediately dropped the weapon and put her hands up,” the National Post reports.

Whalen admits that it’s hard to hear in the helmet and it’s hard to move around in it. That may have caused a delay in his employee getting on the ground when police ordered her to.

“It’s not the easiest thing to kneel down in. You can’t even sit down in it. It takes 20 minutes to put on,” he said.

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However, Whalen says that it’s the police who have no excuse, and should have figured out that the gun wasn’t real.

The Post reports that a video of the incident, put up on social media, shows Whalen yelling from the restaurant door that the the gun is fake as an officer stands behind the plastic blaster.

“All the signs say Star Wars. The music that was playing in the parking lot was Star Wars,” he said. “If a duck’s a duck, it’s a duck, right. It should have been common sense and it should have stopped there.”

The restaurant serves Jabba the Gut pizza and Yoda soda. It opened at the end of January only to be hit by the coronavirus restrictions. Once health guidelines eased, Whalen thought it would be a good way to drum up business to have a stormtrooper outside.

His 19-year-old employee agreed to put on the costume. It was May 4, a popular day among Star Wars fans because of the line from the franchise, “May the force be with you.”

“Ironically enough, she wasn’t a Star Wars fan,” Whalen said. “I don’t think she will be a Star Wars fan … if we had any chance to convert her.”

Police Chief Scott Woods said a special investigation would be conducted into the officers’ conduct.

The woman, who can be heard sobbing on the video, will not be charged.

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