The civilian oversight agency that investigates police in Alberta will be reviewing an independent investigation into the actions of the Lethbridge police officers who detained a young woman in a Star Wars costume earlier this month.
An external service investigation into the officers’ actions is currently being carried out by the Medicine Hat Police Service and on Monday, Lethbridge police said the findings of that investigation will be reviewed by the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team (ASIRT).
“ASIRT’s role in a review is to provide an objective, independent, critical examination and assessment of an investigation to confirm that it was properly conducted using best practices and ensure all appropriate investigative steps were taken,” Lethbridge police said in a news release Monday evening.
On May 4, Lethbridge police said they received two 911 calls about a person in a Stormtrooper costume, carrying a firearm on 13 Street North. The firearm was later found to be a plastic toy.
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 before officers put her in handcuffs.
The owner of Coco Vanilla Galactic Cantina, a Star Wars-themed restaurant in Lethbridge, said the young woman is one of his employees, and she was promoting his business on May the 4th, or “Star Wars Day.”
The woman was not charged in the incident and police said she suffered a minor injury that did not require medical attention. The Canadian Press reported she came out of the incident with a bloody nose.
ASIRT’s review will not encompass whether the officers’ conduct was warranted, but rather whether the Medicine Hat Police Service’s investigation was “conducted impartially, thoroughly and without bias.”
“The assessment of whether there are reasonable grounds to believe an officer has committed a criminal offence is not within the scope of an ASIRT review,” police said.
“In a review, ASIRT assesses the quality of the investigation not the incident itself.”
-With files from Global News’ Eloise Therien and Danica Ferris
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