Storm trooper takedown probe to be quick

Cos­tumed teen with toy gun in­jured in takedown by Leth­bridge of­fi­cers

Calgary Herald - - FRONT PAGE - BRODIE THOMAS brthomas@post­media.com

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.

@XEVIUSS/SCREEN­GRAB

A woman dressed as a Star Wars storm trooper was ar­rested in Leth­bridge Mon­day.

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