Storm trooper takedown probe to be quick
Costumed teen with toy gun injured in takedown by Lethbridge officers
The Lethbridge Police Service says an external agency will investigate officers who injured a teen dressed in a Star Wars costume and carrying a toy gun earlier this week.
Chief Andy Mcgrogan of the Medicine Hat Police Service said officers from Medicine Hat have already travelled to Lethbridge to gather the file and interview witnesses, although they have not yet spoken with the officers involved.
“Before they do any officer interviews, they’ll gather all the information that they have, put it all together, and the second phase will be (interviewing the officers involved),” he said.
Mcgrogan said they’re hoping to wrap the investigation up as quickly as possible.
“I don’t think we’re going to be long with this one,” said the chief.
“I think all the information is relatively contained.”
The incident happened around 11 a.m. on Monday outside a Star Wars-themed restaurant in Lethbridge.
At least three officers responded to two 911 complaints about a person in a storm trooper costume carrying a gun.
At the scene, officers drew their guns and yelled at the costumed 19-year-old girl, who was an employee at the restaurant, to get on the ground. She was then forced to the ground and handcuffed, before being released without charges.
Police say the teen received a minor injury in the incident.
A video of the incident went viral online and drew pointed criticism of the officers’ reaction to the 911 call from around the world. Canadian Star Trek actor William Shatner even weighed in on Twitter, arguing the young woman complied with officers’ demands.
The following day, Lethbridge police Chief Scott Woods contacted the Alberta Director of Law Enforcement, who determined the incident was not within the scope of the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT).
ASIRT is the independent body in charge of investigating police actions that result in serious injury or death, or allegations of police misconduct.
After hearing that ASIRT would not investigate, Woods contacted the Medicine Hat police to handle the file, according to a news release from the Lethbridge police.
Lethbridge Police Service says it will not comment further on the incident while it is being investigated.
Although ASIRT is not looking into the current incident, Alberta’s police watchdog did investigate last year after a Lethbridge police officer repeatedly ran over an injured deer in an attempt to euthanize the animal.
A woman dressed as a Star Wars storm trooper was arrested in Lethbridge Monday.