Making your own Star Wars movie is the Holy Grail of many Star Wars fans, and usually the worst thing that happens is you end up looking like an idiot (see Star Wars Kid). But making his own Star Wars film actually cost a Minneapolis police officer five days' pay.

Patrick Ferguson, a police officer in Forest Lake, Minnesota was suspended for shooting a Star Wars fan film on company time. It seems he and some other cops told their supervisors they were out conducting a special operation to find some graffiti artists. In reality, they went out to the police department's garage, broke out the lightsabers, and shot the video in question.

While I have yet to find a copy of the video, here's what it was like based on the description in the grievance filed by the officer over his suspension. Apparently, the video was a skit about an on-going labor dispute between the city of Forest Lake and the police union. The video starts with an opening scroll that reads: "It is a period of contract negotiations. A rebel bargaining unit striking from a not so secret [sic] base have won yet another victory against the evil MANAGEMENT EMPIRE." Then we see one cop wearing a Darth Vader costume over his police uniform, the other dressed up as a sergeant. The sergeant says "I know nothing," then Darth Vader strikes him down with the lightsaber. That's followed by a picture of a Forest Lake councilman while a voice says Emperor-style, "Everything is proceeding as I had foreseen." Not exactly a lost episode of Clone Wars, but it was enough to get the police chief to launch an internal affairs investigation.

Now here's where Ferguson blew it. He got caught when his supervisors found the video on the department's computer network. It turns out that not only did Ferguson shoot the video on duty with officers in full uniform, but he edited the footage on a police department computer. That violated company policies on the use of police resources. He and six other cops were disciplined, and Ferguson got five days' suspension. While I agree it was pretty stupid for the cop to shoot the video on company time, I can't help thinking the suspension is at least related to the political content of the video.

Anyone got a copy of that video? If so, let us know. I think we'd all like to see it.

Should the officer have been suspended for making the film? [Via the Star Tribune]

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Arlee Bird said...

On company time (i.e.--Taxpayer time)?  Yes he should have been suspended and grateful that he wasn't fired.  From another angle though, this sounds like the potential of a very funny screenplay.  Maybe someone should grab up this story and make a movie based on it.  I could imagine a ton of funny sequences with cops in Star Wars garb and all.


Tossing It Out

Arlee Bird said...

And sure, I'd like to see that video.


Tossing It Out

Reid Kemper said...

It seems the cops had a lot of free time on their hands. It's great that they like Star Wars, though.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

If only he'd done that on his own time and edited on his own computer!


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