Star Wars Cosplayer Thrown To The Ground, Arrested For Carrying 'Plastic Gun'

A restaurant in Lethbridge, Canada last week thought it’d be fun for an employee to stand outside dressed as a Stormtrooper to celebrate Star Wars Day on May 4. Instead, the woman in the costume ended up getting the cops called on her and her nose smashed up before being arrested.

As LNN report, the incident took place last week when the unnamed employee, dressed in full Stormtrooper costume (complete with plastic blaster rifle) and standing out the front of the restaurant, became the subject of two emergency calls from passers-by who were a) concerned at the presence of what they thought was a weapon, and b) had somehow never seen a Stormtrooper before.

Police soon arrived at the scene, drew their guns and ordered the woman to first drop her “weapon” before getting onto the ground. While the employee immediately discarded the blaster, she took some time getting to her knees, so the attending officers grabbed her and pushed her to the ground and handcuffed her, giving her a “bloodied nose”.

While Canadian Police, and Canadians, will no doubt still be reeling from the Nova Scotia shootings last month, which killed 22 people, this was still a bizarre overreaction from the attending officers, who are now the subject of a “service investigation” from the Lethbridge Police Service.


Comments

    What should have happened

    "Police drove by, saw the claims were unsubstantiated and stopped for a funny photo for the local FB page".

    So quick question... did the blaster the employee was holding have the usual "orange tip" on the muzzle?

    As stupid as this question sounds we are living in the American continent (even if it is north of the border) where toys need to have that orange colored tip to prove its a toy. And the "costume" could have been someone literally dressing up to avoid identification during the act of a crime.

    I mean of course common sense should kick in here (and the 2 "concerned callers" were very probably most likely idiot prank callers)... but again its the Americas... not saying what the police did was a stupidly gross over reaction but yeah I can see why the cops would do the whole put your weapon down schtick (pushing down the employee to the point of injury was frankly stupid when it was obvious the employee was complying already in that really bulky costume)

      And the "costume" could have been someone literally dressing up to avoid identification during the act of a crime.

      Don't excuse this stupidness. It's obvious from the shape that it's a toy.

      If we want to continue down your road, you could just paint the tip of a real gun orange instead of dressing up in an obvious costume that would make you stand out from every single other person in the entire city.

        Well most of the Star Wars guns were just props of real guns that were modified for the film, the storm trooper rifle was an SMG.

        Yet people dress up working firearms that look like "sci-fi" guns and Nerf guns all the time, also look at a Vector, P90 and XM25 just a few that if it were not for their popularity in games and film/tv the design would look "Sci-fi".

          Even more so issue to use common sense then. A storm trooper is not inconspicuous. No one is going to commit a crime with that get up because you getaway would be impossible. Instantly recognisable.

            I'm not "excusing" the stupidity... I'm giving context on why this happened.

            Again we are talking about the Americas where everything is labelled to be "stupid proof" because people don't think at best and out for a quick buck via frivolous lawsuit at worst. (why do you think every Disinfectant company literally took out ads in the paper DO NOT INJECT OUR PRODUCTS! TOXIC" when the 'commander in chief' made his statements). Firearms is one of these things where it was legislated all toys had to have the orange tip to designate it as a toy after a 12yr old got shot by police as he was waving around a toy gun.

            The police are trained to take any fire arm as "real" unless it has the orange tip. It's an actual offense to actually alter toy guns to get rid of the orange tip. Hence even the self modded nerfs maintain the orange tip and the opposite is also the same where a fire arm modified to look like a fake toy by putting orange on the muzzle.

            Not disputing the piss obvious stupidity of the situation. I'm just basically pointing out why it happened and happens a lot in the Americas.

              it was legislated all toys had to have the orange tip to designate it as a toy after a 12yr old got shot by police as he was waving around a toy gun.

              Just some clarification on this statement.

              1) The orange tip was already legislated. Rice had altered the airsoft gun and removed the orange tip (according to the evidence at hand).
              2) You can see in surveillance that he wasn't "waving" it around. At one point in the footage, as a (blurred out) person walks past, Rice draws the toy and points it at the person's face, as he walks backwards (keeping in front of the person). Because the person is blurred, you cannot see the reaction. The witness (the person sitting in the gazebo at the time), I think this may have been the person that called the police also, confirms what the footage shows.

              Take that for what you will. Either way, that whole shit show was a horrendous miscarriage of justice, right from the get go (dispatch officer asking the witness for skin colour, I mean seriously). That little boy should still be alive today.

                How would you describe someone without saying skin colour, if the dispatch officer asked if the person was Black I'd see the problem.

                Taking issue with that would be like taking issue with being asked what gender the person is or hair colour, hight, weight it's all relevant.

                  The dispatch officer asked three times if the boy was "black or white". The witness was giving a detailed description of things such as age, height, what he was wearing, etc, the dispatch only cared whether Rice was black or white. I didn't make that clear in my original comment. Once would have been sufficient, I feel, but that's me.

                  While I agree with what you are saying, unfortunately, at least from what i have seen in regards to America, such things cause massive outrage (even though whites, while statistically commit less violent crimes in America, actually get shot and killed more often by police there, but I digress).

                  It just compounds the issue, the argument being, "if it was a white boy reaching for the supposed weapon in his waist band, instead of putting his hands up, he wouldn't be shot." which seems to be the logic behind such arguments... where as I would argue that anyone reaching for what is meant to be a weapon, instead of following the direction of the officers would be shot.

                  @nuffman Well that digression is, 'statistically', hella misleading.

                  Sure, whites get killed more often by police than African Americans, but 61% of US citizens are non-Hispanic whites, whereas African and black multiracial Americans are only 14% of US citizens. In 2019 approximately 235 African Americans were shot and killed by police in compared to 370 whites.

                  https://www.statista.com/statistics/585152/people-shot-to-death-by-us-police-by-race/

                  Furthermore, while the numbers vary significantly year on year, although African Americans are per capita roughly twice as likely to commit violent crime as whites, blacks are per capita disproportionately more likely to be killed by police than whites even allowing for average violent offending rates. In 2019, for example, African Americans were eight times more likely to be killed by police per capita than whites.

                  @AngoraFish

                  I'm going to assume that 100% of those shot and killed are male. Because it's easier that way

                  In 2018 there were ~364,000 violent crime incidents, out of about ~432,000 violent crime offenders, 43% (~187,000) were black (account for 13% of population). Of which, 209 were shot and killed (0.1%) Of course assuming that it's only the violent offenders that are shot and killed.

                  Out of ~4.25 million blacks in America (2018), ~187,000 commit violent crimes, that works out to 1 in 22 people.

                  If we take sex break down % for violent crime offenders (~78%) and we take the population of males as a % (~50%) do a little whizz bang on the calculator, that makes ~2.125 million of the population are black males, and of that, ~145,000 are violent offenders. Which equates to roughly 1 in 15.

                  For whites (non-hispanic), including all the breakdowns, you're looking at ~100 million of the population are white males, and of that ~156,000 are violent offenders. Which equates to roughly 1 in 641.

                  https://crime-data-explorer.fr.cloud.gov/explorer/national/united-states/crime for crime stats, google for population sizes, and calculator for the maths.

                  A single black man is ~42x more likely than a single white man to commit a violent crime. Which would mean they are going to have a significantly higher chance of having a police encounter, however that ends up.

                  Your comment of " In 2019, for example, African Americans were eight times more likely to be killed by police per capita than whites." is wrong also, considering according to a research study conducted in 2019, found that between 2013-2018, blacks were only 2.5x more liekly to be killed by police than whites (1 in 1000 compared to 39 in 100000).

                  https://www.citylab.com/equity/2019/08/police-officer-shootings-gun-violence-racial-bias-crime-data/595528/ link to study is within the text.

                  If you are 42x more likely to commit a violent crime, which *should* translate to being 42x more likely to having an encounter with police, and are only 2.5x likely to be shot and killed. All things given, it's not *that* bad.

                  Now, in saying all of this, I do not condone such things, I believe everyone should have due process, regardless of crimes committed, so that justice is served as it is meant to be, and I do believe that there needs to be an overhaul in police training and such, especially in America, but even here.

                  TL;DR Yes, blacks are more likely to be shot and killed by police (2.5x), but they are also *significantly* more likely to have an encounter with police (42x)

                  @nuffman you're cherry picking a hell of a lot of data there, wrapped up in a crapton of assumptions. There's literally piles of academic research in this area, but rather than relying on an organisation or academic whose full time job is to interpret this stuff you've theorycrafted your own analysis.

                  Well, and I genuinely mean this as a compliment, at least you've linked some sources, which is infinitely more than one can say about most of the conversations around here.

                  Regardless, I'm really not clear how you're disputing the fact that, for example, blacks were literally eight times more likely to be killed by a police officer in 2019 when I've linked you the actual numbers.

                  Furthermore, the trend is towards a dramatic reduction in white deaths over time while black deaths have remained largely stable. Your "2.5x" figure, while broadly correct at one point, is looking increasingly dated.

                  @angorafish

                  Cherry picking? I literally looked at how many violent crimes were committed in 2018, looked at the break down of race, from a reputable source, and went from there. That's not exactly "cherry picking", especially when my original claim was that blacks commit more violent crimes than whites, statistically. The only real assumptions I made was that all those shot and killed were male, and that the population is split 50/50, which is the world average (50.5/49.5ish really ATM).

                  My figure of 2.5x is not "increasingly dated" as you say, as, like I said, that was a figure, taken from a study (which is linked) that looked at data taken from 2013-2018. That's not dated, at all. That's "current"

                  You're correct, there are numerous studies and sources, etc. But *current* studies show that it is 2.5x not 8x (which, in all fairness, you didn't cite a source for).

                  Of course the chances of being shot and killed by a police officer increase if there are more instances of coming into contact with police, especially in terms of violent crimes.

                  You only cited data to show deaths by cops (which yes, show a downward trend for white deaths, I'm not disputing that at all).

                  Long story short, the less likely you are to commit a violent crimes, the less likely you will be shot and killed by police (assuming all the police shootings are against those people)

                  @angorafish

                  Now, if I'm missing something, show me, explain it to me, link it to me. Show me the current study that shows 8x more likely, show me the study saying blacks are 2x more likely to commit a violent crimes, so I can see the maths and logic behind such calculations.

                  Also, sorry @almightysparrow for the spam

                @angorafish read up ^

                  @nuffman

                  Now, if I'm missing something, show me, explain it to me, link it to me.

                  Okely dokely!

                  Firstly - your population assumption. African-Americans are the third largest ethnic group in the US (according to the census), and account for ~12-13% of the population. This give you a total population of roughly 40 million; ~10x higher than the figure you used.

                  Secondly, your crime stats are incomplete. The link you provided only shows reports from the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS), and excludes the other sources of data that roll into the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting program. The actual estimate for total violent crimes in 2018 is just over 1.2 million, 4x higher than the number you used.
                  https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2018/crime-in-the-u.s.-2018/topic-pages/violent-crime. It's possible that the NIBRS data is representative of the overall population of crimes... but then, it's entirely possible that there's an inherent bias in the excluded data... without seeing it, you can't know for sure.

                  Your numbers are also based on the assumption that race doesn't factor into whether a crime is reported and/or investigated; but that's hard to factor in, so more something to bear in mind. Looking at the statistics, it's hard to argue against inherent bias in the law enforcement and judicial system in the US, so definitely something worth considering.

                  @cffndncr

                  Thanks! How did I miss that? I even stated they were ~14% of the population. This is what happens when you're up late.

      I think a part of the problem is the escalation. the video shows them on her knees away from the blaster then pans away and back to face smashed into the ground. the initial caution is one thing but, it seems it quickly escalated and the nature of the costume (most generally prohibit movement) would have made it difficult to quickly comply. when people are slow police get antsy and more agressive.

      I can't rightly say how things really went considering the jumps in visuals but, it seems there was likely some communication issues. thankfully being canada she wasn't shot.

        Oh definitely with you on that one. The police already had a compliant person on their knees and then went overboard because the person was obviously having issues getting down because of the costume.

      rock_m, are you serious? there is no continent wide law, that requires toy guns to have a orange tip, it is a canadian law, and it it a usa law, not a "north america continent" law

      please dont reproduce unless you can pay for the education of your children

      toys need to have that orange colored tip to prove its a toy

      This seems like a really silly law? Anybody could colour orange the tip of a real gun to make it pass as a toy.

        I did mention it is also usually illegal to alter/paint a firearm for various reasons this is one of them =P

        I mean yes it *is* a moot point for people who are going to do something illegal anyway but hey it's still the simplest way to differentiate a kid who is aiming around a toy magnum or airsoft gun vs an actual real gun around. It's not exactly fool proof but then nothing ever is.

    That is a sever over-reaction by the police there. If it was in the US I would've just brushed it aside as more brutality from them par for the course, but Canada? Wow.

    I guess it is after the recent shooting they had, but still. None of the officers knew Star Wars? Or made the connection with the date? Or simply questioned her when she immediately tossed her weapon when ordered to and she was on her knees?

    But no, common sense was in a galaxy far, far away.

      It’s how they’re trained these days.
      Putting the suspect in cuffs is considered the priority.
      Clearly the poor girl was worried about damaging the costume (they aren’t cheap) but the cops will see it as resisting.

        I'd be more worried about bullet holes and blood stains (especially my own blood) in my costume long before I'd be worrying about a few scratches.

        It's not how 'they' are trained nowadays. Most police forces have mandatory training in de-escalation techniques, not in rapidly tying people up. Canada is a little more inconsistent but de-escalation training is mandatory in most major city Canadian police forces.

        The US is virtually the only first-world jurisdiction that prefers the shoot ‘em all and let god sort them out school of policing, and that's largely because in the US the typical officer receives only two to four months of local training before going on the beat, whereas in most of the rest of the world two years of highly specialised training is becoming close to universal.

          No idea where you are getting that information from but it is wrong. In Australia Police get six months training then 12 months probabtion on the road. You don't get trained in de-escalation, you have to draw on life skills and experience. Only negotiators get training.

          In this kind of situation restraining is de-escalation, the communication techniques only come in to play once a suspect is no longer a possible threat to the public, the officers and themselves.

      Cops don't "brutalize" white people on the US though, or so I'm constantly bombarded with, so it couldn't be that.

        Well the cops didn't know she was white till they took her helmet off, which was after they threw her to the ground...

          Cosplaying Star Wars is about as white as you can get... Next to being a Taylor Swift fan haha

            LOL! Okay, that made me spit my drink. XD

            Last edited 11/05/20 6:32 pm

    I thought there were laws about prop weapons, or is that just a US, or even convention rule thing?

      I thought the general rule was 'don't' when it comes to prop weapons in public. Prop swords especially, given that every other year it seems someone goes on a rampage with a samurai sword, either in the US or Melbourne.

      As to other people going 'its obviously a blaster', here is a fun article:

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/checkpoint/wp/2015/10/20/the-real-world-small-arms-that-inspired-the-weapons-of-star-wars/

      The various blasters and rifles are almost identical to actual real firearms. Look at the comparison between the E-11 and Sterling submachine gun.

      It would surprise me if there was someone that paint up a real firearm and add extras to it to make it appear like its film equivalent 'But it really works!'

      Throw in the recent trend of 3D printed firearms that don't look like how you'd expect a normal gun to look and the 'if it looks like a firearm, then treat it like a firearm' philosophy comes into play.

      Looking at the video she was wearing her helmet when she went on the ground so I'm guessing any injury was likely caused by the inside of her helmet? From the comments here I was expecting her to be thrown around and beaten up but it looks like she complied albeit in a 'what the heck?' kind of way about being pulled up. The police don't seem to be especially rough in the recorded tape.

      Well gun type props/toys are meant to at the very least have an orange tip designating it as a toy in NA. Fairly sure this would have bled over to the canucks up north as well.

        Pretty much every toy (at least in this category) you'd buy in Canada would have been made in the same factory as those sold in the US. So even if they didnt have the orange tip law, it would be there almost by default anyway.

    Back in the early 80s, around the time Return of the Jedi came out, my dad went on an overseas trip (I can't remember what country) and brought home for 7 year old me a Star Wars laser pistol thing. Unthinkingly he just put it in his carry on, and when it went through the scanner at airport security, all hell broke loose, apparently. Alarms going off, people running from everywhere. Eventually it settled down once they saw what it was. I don't know if he got the rubber glove treatment, presumably they would have sheltered my delicate young ears from such information.

      I know people that bought back airsoft guns from Thailand and didn't even get checked, when I came back myself I got waved through security.

      Don't know if my bag was even scanned between the plane and me picking it up, I did go through security coming back from Japan though.

        I think it just depends on how the current customs people are feeling that day =P

        I had a souvenir blade from Jp and was just asked questions about the type and length and was waived through without any other scans or baggage checks!

          I think they are more concerned about bio security, since it was mostly Asian people going through security while others like myself ("Caucasian") where waived through.

    She was probably slow getting to her knees because she didn't want to scratch up that sweet finish on the stormtrooper armour.

      With a couple cops pointing guns at me, I'd be more worried about bullet holes than a few scratches.

    I know it is fun to shit on the Police but we don't know the actual details that were relayed by the phone callers. Further to that Canada is coming off the back of a shooting so tensions are high and caution is being used.

    Nine times out of ten you could see from the first instance this was just a costume but Police have to be prepared for that one time it is a mentally ill person posing as a stormtrooper to lower guard before going on a spree. When the Police tell you to get on the ground in a situation like this you get on the god damn ground. Doing anything else is a failure to comply and will get you thrown on the ground so they can secure you and confirm there is no danger.

    This isn't a fucking game, this is real life and dickheads need to stop sitting behind their screens stroking their neckbeards.

    I'm curious, are trooper costumes easily bendable? (is that the right term? maybe flexible?)

    like she was slow to get on her knees because she physically can't do it in a hurry

      apparently the case here or so I've heard from other sources.

      In the video, you can see that at one point she tries to, on either knee. It looked quite stiff. When she got on her knees, she tried to to lay down, and saw her almost tip because she's obviously top heavy, so she stops.

      You can see her drop her arms, almost as in giving up, knowing what's coming next. Poor thing. They could have asked her to take her helmet off first, so that there could be a direct line of proper communication

    You could always paint an orange tip on a real gun. There’s that. Still, poor lady.

    Its North America where there are more mass shootings per year than there are days. Yes the majority of that is specifically from USA not Canada, but helps put into perspective how the police need to handle these situations compared to Australia for example.

    If this article was about a male, and he was of a ethnicity that was anything but white, then this article wouldn’t exist and would surely not have 50 comments.
    No I did not read the article or comment section, that’s like having cancer (something I don’t have). But I am a Male and I am of a ethnicity that is something other than white. So my existence is like having cancer.
    I’ll be checking back to see that you’ve NOT published my comment, mod. And I’ll take great joy in knowing you’re a racist and sexiest. I will laugh my fkn ass off.

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