Star Wars Stormtrooper given bloody nose by Alberta police

By Alexandra Heilbron on May 6, 2020 | 31 Comments

A teenage girl hired to dress up as a Stormtrooper to attract customers to a restaurant for May 4th (Global Star Wars Day) was surrounded by cops and forced to get on the ground because she was carrying a plastic Star Wars gun.

Ashley, a tiny 19-year-old who works for Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina in Lethbridge, was asked by the owner, Brad Whalen, to dress in the costume and walk back and forth in front of the restaurant carrying a toy blaster. She was quietly doing just that when she was surrounded by police cars with sirens blazing, as police got out of their cars and aimed their weapons at her.

Ashley immediately dropped the plastic gun, but the officers screamed for her to get to her knees and lie on the ground. It took her awhile, as moving in the stiff costume was extremely difficult. She was finally forced to the ground by armed police, hitting her face on the pavement, which caused her nose to bleed.

In a witness video, Ashley can be heard crying, trying to explain in a terrified tone. In the video, the witness tells the cops that it’s a toy gun, but they just ask him to stand back and threaten to arrest him as well.

“All the signs say ‘Star Wars.’ The music that was playing in the parking lot was Star Wars,” said owner Brad Whalen.

A news release said when officers arrived, the person dropped the weapon but didn’t comply right away with directions to get down on the ground. Whalen disputes that, saying that his employee dropped the weapon right away and put her hands up, but had a hard time hearing because of the stormtrooper helmet and couldn’t get on the ground because the plastic parts of the costume make it difficult to move, other than walking stiffly.

Police Chief Scott Woods has directed an investigation into the officers’ conduct. The employee in the costume was not charged.

Whalen says the incident has affected all his employees, but especially Ashley. He told the media, “Ironically enough, she wasn’t a ‘Star Wars’ fan. I don’t think she will be a ‘Star Wars’ fan … if we had any chance to convert her.”

May 4 is known as Star Wars Day and is popular for the phrase “May the fourth be with you,” a take off on the famous line from the movie, “May the Force be with you.” ~Alexandra Heilbron

Comments & Discussion

  1. Jane • May 7, 2020 @ 9:12 AM

    What an overreaction, no wonder the poor girl was terrified. She could have been killed during this craziness. As soon as she dropped the toy gun, they should have been able to see that she was no danger. I thought this kind of thing only happened in the States.

  2. Chad • May 7, 2020 @ 9:32 AM

    Well I sure lucked out, I had 4 police vehicles show up to a photoshoot I was having of a new cosplay that had guns. They clearly saw what was going on and that the guns were not real and explained how to do this safely in the future.
    But wow that was over the top by the cops in Alberta. Hope she is okay and that the cops get hit with some sort of punishment.

  3. Sam • May 7, 2020 @ 9:40 AM

    She’s probably traumatized for life.

  4. R • May 7, 2020 @ 9:50 AM

    What I want to know is the outcome of this “Police Chief Scott Woods investigation” and how will this girl be remunerated for such a stupid overreaction.
    I hope they don’t let these idiot policemen (and woman) out during Halloween, or a bunch of kids will be all arrested or worse.
    BTW – I’m always on the side of who acted correctly – most of the time I’m on the side of police, but these bozos are just idiots who should NOT be working with guns.

  5. R • May 7, 2020 @ 9:57 AM

    Go tweet and say hi to the “Leader of the Rebellion”, Police Chief Scott Woods, and don’t forget to remind him how STUPID his whole department looks now in the eyes of the world.
    His handle:
    And the idiots handle:

  6. Gary • May 7, 2020 @ 10:47 AM

    For the first time in a long time, I am now ashamed of being Canadian.

  7. brian • May 7, 2020 @ 10:51 AM

    An “I got power and gonna prove it” female cop shouting over-aggressive instructions. Female cops think they have to prove themselves more than a male cop. They should take reasonable action ONLY .
    I agree anyone who has not seen the movie might mistake the costume as armour , but with the “weapon” dropped why not instruct the mask be removed before causing bodily harm .
    The girl should sue the police .

  8. Al Lui • May 7, 2020 @ 11:06 AM

    Unfortunately the force wasn’t with the stormtrooper this day.

  9. Laura Michelle Dixon • May 7, 2020 @ 11:10 AM

    Wow, I feel so bad for that poor girl.

  10. Millicent Jacques • May 7, 2020 @ 11:13 AM

    Next thing you know, police will arrest children on Halloween for being in costume.

  11. Maria Mcleod • May 7, 2020 @ 12:01 PM

    I can’t believe this happened in Canada. What did it take to observe the person, check to see what was going on .. The toy gun was not checked and no words were used. Seems that the communication skills are missing . Definitely not hero’s but shameful actions. Jumping to conclusion before getting all the information. The worst is the violent behavior of the officers in dealing with this person. They need to be send back to school to learn observation and investigative skill. They are not school boys in the school yard but legal peace officers. They should live up to what Canadian would be proud of.

  12. Larry • May 7, 2020 @ 12:05 PM

    Mostly I have respect for our Canadian police , but these 3 losers should under no circumstance have access to weapons , but knowing full well how ridiculously lenient they are handled by their own, they are probably being given a mild speaking too , a spanking if they would like it , and a box of “Tim Bits to share between 3 dimwits” . “ May the ( Police ) Force not be with them “

  13. Al S • May 7, 2020 @ 12:07 PM

    I noticed that the police pulled a vehicle in front of the person videoing to block his view of his recording … the whole situation is typical of something the the US, but in Canada .. I wouldn’t have thought so. So many officers there and NOT one had the sense to say this had gone beyond logic !!

  14. JSaz • May 7, 2020 @ 12:16 PM

    If only she took off her helmet, they may have reacted differently. White teenage girls dressed as Stormtroopers most likely are not threats to the public. I’m also willing to bet it was a friend of hers that called the police thinking it would be funny.

  15. Diane • May 7, 2020 @ 12:48 PM

    Once I saw the video I actually can see how it would’ve happened because if that’s where she was walking around just based on the video I can’t tell why she’s dressed as a storm trooper (I don’t care if it’s May 4) Now we all know you need to alert the local police if you’re going to be doing a promotion like this before sending somebody out with a toy gun – I do think it was excessive but if It was Some person who had a grudge against the restaurant and went and shot everyone up then what would people be saying

  16. Nathan Elke • May 7, 2020 @ 1:02 PM

    The other thing that bothers me, outside of the treatment of the gurl, which everyone has talked about, is the threat to arrest the witness…what the hell? You don’t frickin’ threaten arrest for witnessing the actions of these bozos! Maybe hammer into these cops’ heads the name “Robert Dziekanski“

  17. Jim • May 7, 2020 @ 1:06 PM

    I agree with the comments regarding how the police over-reacted, however, perhaps the restaurant manager could have advised the police of the plan ahead of time. Seems a shame we need to do this but these are different times and we all need to be more proactive in many ways.

  18. cc • May 7, 2020 @ 1:50 PM

    is this the same pd that ran over that baby deer multiple times last year (what ever happened with that anyway?)? i get that people are hyped but cops are supposed to be better and more stable. the kid dropped the toy and is obviously in a helmet which could hamper compliance. stiff costume too is possible. no need to do anything excessive (once the toy was dropped) plus i would be interested to see if the signs were as prominent as the owner says. the music may not be instantly recognizable to those that have had no access to pop culture for the last 45 yrs. The girl can and should be compensated somehow for this even if it is as small as a very public and sincere apology from those that ironically acted like her character.

  19. St cap • May 7, 2020 @ 2:07 PM

    What a bunch of POWER TRIPPING PIECES OF SHIT !!!!

  20. Rene Jansen • May 7, 2020 @ 2:57 PM

    What a bunch of dick heads! Guess the donut shop is closed and had nothing else to do. Guess none of them ever saw Star wars.
    Even if the owner had told the cops, nobody would have listened. If I were her, I’d see a lawyer, her rights may have been violated, there was no need to shove onto the ground and cause any injury.
    Same with guy filming, he was not interfering, simply recording their inane actions.
    Cops used to be good guys, not any more, the power has gone to their heads.

  21. Donald Peerenboom • May 7, 2020 @ 3:14 PM

    Completely unacceptable behavior by so called peacekeepers. These officers should not only be ashamed of themselves, but should resign their jobs immediately. Ignorance is no excuse, especially if by a lawkeeper!

  22. Steve Y • May 7, 2020 @ 3:28 PM

    How quick we are to forget the tragedy in Nova Scotia that may or may not have put the officers on such high alert. I agree that this was an over-reaction, but considering that over twenty people had been killed by a shooter not two weeks ago why take the chance? The best option to have avoided this would have been to let he woman dress as the Stormtrooper, but not have the gun.

  23. Rodney Newton • May 7, 2020 @ 3:40 PM

    Stormtrooper made me laugh. The 2:18 long video would go viral. Foreigners, including tv networks will want to participate. The publicity stunt by the restaurant succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.

  24. DJLGND • May 7, 2020 @ 4:27 PM

    Welcome to Canada and trhe Police State that we are living in . First off the RCMP are Canada’s largest street gang and are not accountable to anyone. I have seen them do Stuff that if i did mit i would 1 be arrested, 2 fired from my job, 3 going through the justice system. I am a retired military man and they are better equiped than i was when i was in the service, of my country. The smaller localised police forces in our country are made to do the same as the RCMP as they would be dibanded and RCMP would be put into practice in these communities at a very huge expense to the community.

  25. Ken Deren • May 7, 2020 @ 6:19 PM

    Ridiculous. Makes you wonder who the real StormTroopers are? Is this a sighn of things to come?

  26. Kay • May 7, 2020 @ 9:05 PM

    How embarrassing for Alberta and those cops. I hope they’re all shame faced now. But since most cops in North America are inept and/or corrupt, I doubt it. Sadly.

  27. SMH • May 8, 2020 @ 1:16 AM

    I wonder how police will react to a person who is deaf and cannot understand what’s being shouted at them. Apparently you don’t need a high IQ to wear a badge and carry a gun.

  28. Ross Murray • May 8, 2020 @ 6:54 AM

    So much sympathy (justified) for the officer who died in Nova Scotia, along with all the others, because of a fake cop. So much criticism (also justified) for the three real cops in Lethbridge who did this bit of idiocy. Hey there, you three: If you wonder why cops don’t have the kind of trust you think you should have, just look in a mirror.
    But I’ll also mention several years ago, I found a police test on the internet (when to shoot, when not to shoot), including a scenario with a deaf/mute person approaching. I failed. It’s not easy. But come on! Surely you’re not completely ignorant of popular culture.

  29. Maggie • May 9, 2020 @ 12:04 PM

    Although I do respect the law enforcement officers in Canada and I know they have a tough job, but this is definitely ridiculous! Has the whole world gone ludicrous??

  30. Miguel RAMO • May 10, 2020 @ 12:53 PM

    something to talk about right

  31. Jackie M • May 14, 2020 @ 2:24 PM

    That poor girl was so violated. But, having lived in Edmonton for almost 50 years, I am not surprised by the police conduct. I have seen some nasty power trips, physical abuse and psychological abuse. None of what I have experienced was ever warranted, and nothing was ever done to help the victims, who ranged from 7-year-old boys, to young women, to adults. It is Edmonton’s shame.

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