‘There is a problem in that dept.’: William Shatner criticizes Lethbridge police over Stormtrooper incident

Famous Canadian actor William Shatner has weighed in on an incident that happened on May 4 in Lethbridge, when police received two 911 calls regarding a person in a Stormtrooper costume carrying a firearm along 13th Street N.

In a video posted to YouTube, officers are seen approaching the costumed 19-year-old woman, telling her to “get down.” She is seen dropping the gun, and officers continue to put her in handcuffs.

According to the restaurant, she was waving and walking up and down the street to promote the business.

Shatner shared a series of tweets to his 2.5-million Twitter followers on Wednesday, insinuating police handled the situation inappropriately.

“Rifles drawn for a plastic toy cosplayer? Didn’t comply right away? Are you blind Chief (sic)? Watch the video to see how quickly she complied. This cannot be covered up,” he wrote over a video shared by a bystander. 

He also mentioned a January 2019 incident, when a Lethbridge Police Service officer was recorded on cell phone footage repeatedly running over an injured deer on Scenic Drive.

“There’s a problem in that Dept. (sic),” he said.

Last year’s incident was investigated by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team and no charges were laid against the officer.

Bradley Whalen, owner of Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina, says business has been better than ever with takeout orders and the public support since the police incident has been overwhelming

“I’ve had thousands of messages and emails come in, over 50 media requests for people wanting to do interviews.”

Whalen adds seeing support from Shatner was unexpected.

“The support from someone like him is just epic,” said Whalen.

He adds he grew up watching Shatner as Captain Kirk on the sci-fi television series Star Trek, and is still a fan.

“He went above and beyond, because people were making comments and he was actually responding to other people’s comments in regards to the situation.”

The restaurant opened in January 2020, and has been hit hard by COVID-19 restrictions as a new business startup.

A GoFundMe page was started in March to help support the business through the pandemic restrictions, but didn’t see many donations until the incident on May 4.

The fundraiser has brought in nearly $2,000 dollars in the last two days – money that Whalen says will be used to help their staff.

“We want to make sure that financially we can afford to cover any expenses that are going to come from this.”

“If one of our staff needs to take the day off because the stress is just still at them or they’re just not in the right frame of mind, we want to me make that they’re not going to get penalized for that.”

The LPS would not provide comment, saying the incident is currently under investigation.

Gun use is a hot topic in Canada at the moment following the country’s worst mass shooting in history in Nova Scotia a few weeks ago and the recent gun ban introduced by Justin Trudeau earlier this week.

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