Two more costume characters were arrested in Times Square yesterday, this time while dressed as Star Wars creatures. Casey Braxton, 36, and Robert Williams, 46, dressed as a Stormtrooper and Chewbacca, respectively, were posing for pictures at the corner of Broadway and 45th Street during yesterday's afternoon snow at around 3:30 p.m., according to a NYPD spokesperson. They took a picture with a 71-year-old Swedish tourist who offered them five dollars; according to the police, the unlikely duo (unless, of course, it was actually Han Solo inside the Stormtrooper armor) demanded ten dollars each.

They allegedly stood in the tourist's way until he paid up, at which point nearby officers intervened and arrested Braxton and Williams for aggressive panhandling and harassment.

Yesterday's arrests appears to be part of an increase in cops arresting costume characters, who often pose for tips in Times Square and other tourist-heavy areas. Last week, four people were arrested under similar circumstances (aggressively soliciting tips, according to the NYPD) while dressed as Batman, Cookie Monster, Minnie Mouse, and Olaf from "Frozen." One of the four, Jose Escalona-Martinez, had been arrested twice before while in costume, and has sued for wrongful arrest both times. He intends to do so once more, and claims that he is being unfairly targeted for lawfully posing for tips.

Escalona-Martinez's lawyer, James Franzetti, represents many people who dress in costume in tourist-heavy areas, and is currently representing both Williams and Braxton in pending civil rights cases against the city in which they're alleging wrongful arrests. Franzetti was not aware of these most recent arrests, but said that in working for tips only, his clients do not commit any crime.

"These costumed individuals, 'characters,' garner a lot of attention, including from the patrolling NYPD, in part, because their costumes are iconic," Franzetti told Gothamist over email, adding, "According to those 'characters' with whom I've spoken, although arrests are less common, unlawful stops, inappropriate handcuffing, and other overreaching on the part of the NYPD occurs with alarming frequency."

Some city officials have been weighing formal restrictions on costume characters, troubling buskers and even constitutional law scholars. In 2014, Bronx Councilmember Andy King introduced legislation that would required costumed characters to pay a $175 fee and register with the Department of Consumer Affairs, or else face fines and jail time for noncompliance. That bill was roundly denounced by those who testified, with one man dressed as The Joker calling it "straight up fascism." To date, the bill has been stalled.

And just last summer, Mayor de Blasio formed a "task force to address aggressive solicitation and other nuisance and quality of life issues," focused particularly on the desnudas and costumed characters. That task force later recommended that the city create designated performance zones, outside of which posing for tips would be illegal. No word yet on whether the "Times Square Commons" will come to fruition.

"The civil rights lawsuits of these 'characters' are within a legal bulwark which must constantly be refortified to protect the freedoms which too many of us take for granted," Franzetti said. "Chewbacca and the Storm Trooper, Batman, Spider Man, and the other 'characters' are much more in touch with this constitutional reality than those who criticize them would expect."