Canadian News May 12, 2020 5:15 PM EST

Investigation of Alberta 'stormtrooper incident' underway

The recent incident involving a woman who was handcuffed while dressed up as a stormtrooper will now be investigated by the ASIRT.

Investigation of Alberta 'stormtrooper incident' underway
Quinn Patrick Montreal, QC
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The recent incident involving a woman who was handcuffed while dressed up as a stormtrooper on a May 4, a Star Wars themed day, will now be investigated by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT), according to CBC.

Initially, the incident wasn't deemed serious enough for ASIRT and was handed over to Medicine Hat police to investigate what happened. After several discussions between Medicine Hat Police, ASIRT and the Lethbridge Police however, the decision was made to hand it over to ASIRT.

May 4 is often referred to as "May the fourth be with you" a reference to the famous Star Wars' line "may the force be with you." The woman handcuffed was an employee of the Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina, a space-themed restaurant. She was dressed up as a stormtrooper, a popular character from the film series.

Lethbridge Police received two 911 calls reporting that she was carrying a firearm, walking down 13th Street North. However, the woman was carrying a plastic toy gun and was waving it at people to get their attention to come into the restaurant to celebrate the day, which was offering drinks such as Yoda Soda.

The 19-year-old woman dropped the toy weapon upon the arrival of the officers but initially refused police's orders to get down on the ground. The officers drew their weapons and forced the woman to the ground before removing her helmet.

The removal of the helmet resulted in a bloody nose, bruising and scratching, according to the woman's boss. She was handcuffed and then later released with no charges.

The arrest was caught on video and circulated on the internet to much public backlash.

The incident will now be investigated by ASIRT, an independent agency, used for provincial matters that involve allegations of police misconduct, injury or death.

"ASIRT's role in a review is to provide an objective, independent, critical examination and assessment of an investigation to confirm that it was properly conducted using best practices and ensure all appropriate investigative steps were taken," said Lethbridge Police.

"Once the review is complete, the file is returned to the home agency with any recommendations that ASIRT may have made. Those recommendations could relate to specific steps that could or should be pursued in the investigation or broader practice or policy recommendations."

Lethbridge Police will not be making any further comment on the issue as it's now in the hands of ASIRT to be dealt with.

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