William Shatner blasts Lethbridge police takedown of woman in stormtrooper costume
CALGARY -- The man famous for playing Star Trek's Captain Kirk waded into the Star Wars realm Wednesday to criticize the Lethbridge police on their takedown of a woman in a stormtrooper costume earlier this week.
William Shatner took to social media to tweet his contempt for the Lethbridge police force and its chief.
"Rifles drawn for a plastic toy Cosplayer? Didn't comply right away? Are you blind Chief?" Shatner wrote above a video that was captured by a bystander.
The incident happened Monday outside a Star Wars-themed restaurant in the southern Alberta city. A 19-year-old employee of the Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina donned the costume in honour of May the Fourth — a day Star Wars fans celebrate the epic space saga, as the date resembles the famous "may the force be with you" line from the franchise.
The employee danced outside the restaurant in costume, with the toy blaster in-hand, until police rolled up and with guns drawn, ordered the woman to drop her weapon.
According to the employee, she couldn't hear police through the helmet.
She suffered a bloody nose after she was tackled to the ground by police and handcuffed.
Police said they were responding to weapons complaints made by the public.
On Tuesday, Lethbridge's chief of police called for an investigation to look into the actions of responding officers.
Shatner responded to social media users saying the employee should not have been carrying the "weapon" by saying "If (the officer) couldn't see it was a toy he sould retire, yet they continued and slammed her to the ground and bloodied her nose."
Shatner's disdain for the officer's actions was not limited to one comment. He went on to point out the infamous 2019 incident where a Lethbridge police officer euthanized a deer by repeatedly running it over with his vehicle.
At the Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina on Wednesday one couple wearing Star Wars costumes stood outside with a sign asking for help in finding "missing trooper."
The pair said they wanted to show support for the business and let police and the community know "what happened on the fourth of May was not okay."
Inside the restaurant, owner Brad Whalen said he was surprised to see Shatner’s tweets.
"To me, it’s just wow. To have somebody like that throwing his support our way and standing up for our employee and restaurant is amazing," he said.
Whalen said the video has spread throughout the world, with news media reaching out from the United States and Europe. He did an interview with the London Times on Tuesday.
"It’s constant. Everybody wants to know exactly what happened, how things have been going, how our employee is doing," he said.
One man even offered to organize an event next year on May the fourth, to have 1,000 stormtroopers show up at the restaurant.
Whalen said he welcomes an investigation by the Lethbridge Police Service, and hopes whoever is handing the matter will be impartial.
"We are a little skeptical in regards to LPS investigating their own people," said Whalen. "But at the end of the day the video tells the story."
He said they will also be making a request to ask that police car dash cam, or other video evidence LPS may have, is not destroyed or disposed of.