Police's handling of a Stormtrooper-costumed restaurant employee's toy blaster somehow being mistaken for a real gun is receiving an understandable wave of criticism, with fellow employees saying the Star Wars cosplayer was "tackled" and left with a bloody nose.
"Sometimes you really have to use common sense," Brad Whalen, owner of the Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina in the southern Alberta city of Lethbridge, told CTV News. "When all the things fit in the box—you've got the signs, you've got the music, the atmosphere. A duck is a duck when it's walking like a duck."
Still, despite the obviousness of the fact that the costumed individual (named in the CTV report as Ashley) posed no real threat, police have defended their handling of the situation (some of which can be seen in the footage above) that's since made its way to TMZ and beyond.
According to Whalen, Ashley had been instructed to dance with the toy blaster in the parking lot of the restaurant as part of the fan-celebrated May the Fourth holiday. At some point, Whalen says, someone nearby "called 911 and said that there was somebody with a gun on 13 Street North."
Apparently, this resulted in multiple officers from the Lethbridge Police Service showing up "with guns drawn on [Ashley]."
Ashley is not facing charges related to the peculiar incident, the dramatics of which police blamed on noncompliance with verbal directions from responding officers. Whalen, however, explained that the awkwardness of the costume’s design made such compliance difficult.