Scottsdale pursues State of Emergency following civil unrest

Posted 6/2/20

The Scottsdale City Council has been called upon to consider extending a proclamation and State of Emergency issued by Mayor Jim Lane, which in part gives police officers power to use any and all …

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Scottsdale pursues State of Emergency following civil unrest

Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane issued an emergency proclamation following civil unrest on May 30.
Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane issued an emergency proclamation following civil unrest on May 30.
(File photo)
Posted

The Scottsdale City Council has been called upon to consider extending a proclamation and State of Emergency issued by Mayor Jim Lane, which in part gives police officers power to use any and all lawful means shall civil unrest erupt in the city again.

A special Scottsdale City Council meeting is set for 10 a.m. Thursday, June 4, to continue or terminate a resolution declaring a State of Emergency following Saturday night’s protest, which turned violent.

On May 30, hundreds of people descended upon the Scottsdale Fashion Square area as a protest resulted in property damage and looting of several stores.

Scottsdale Police Department officers were out-numbered by protesters, officials say.

The June 4 agenda contains two items to approve: minutes from an emergency City Council meeting, which occurred Sunday, May 31; and consideration of the State of Emergency proclamation.

The proclamation is dated May 31 and is set to expire on June 7, unless further extended.

The meeting minutes show the council and top city staff conducted a 70-minute electronic emergency meeting where they received a briefing from the police department staff regarding the looting and unrest the night before.

The council did not give direction to staff or many any legal decisions, the minutes state.

The proclamation and declaration of emergency allows the mayor to govern by proclamation in order to protect life and property, and to preserve the peace for the city, the document states. Mayor Lane may also impose whatever proclamations and regulations that are necessary to preserve the peace, public health and safety and order of the city.

Further, the document states that with the emergency proclamation, the police are ordered to “remove, disperse, or arrest any person found to be in violation of this proclamation” or who has committed or is attempting to commit any of the following acts:

  • Disturbing the peace by using any threat to use force or violence or other means to disturb the peace;
  • Making any attempt or advance towards the commission of any act which would be a riot if actual committed;
  • Taking part in a riot or unlawful assembly;
  • To harm or threaten to harm life, personal safety or property;
  • Committing any crime against the laws of the State of Arizona or the ordinances of the City of Scottsdale;
  • Any person refusing to obey the lawful order of any public officer or person assisting such officer in attempting to restore peace, tranquility and order to the city or to provide emergency or necessary public services.

Additionally, police are ordered and authorized to use any and all lawful means at their disposal for the enforcement of this proclamation, the document states.

Protests broke out across the nation --- including Scottsdale --- during the last week of May, and are still continuing, in response to Minneapolis citizen George Floyd dying while in police custody. Gov. Doug Ducey has issued an 8 p.m. curfew as a result.

The Saturday night protests saw 12 people arrested and estimates of millions of dollars worth of damage done to properties in the area.

As the events unfolded on live TV and social media streams, local business leaders say they were forced to defend their own storefronts overnight.
Law enforcement officials said May 31 that the protest was not peaceful, pointing to participants prepared to engage with police.

Police Chief Alan Rodbell said on May 31, “Last night wasn’t about protests, although there were some signs, very few; although there was some graffiti, not much, but some graffiti, it was clearly these people came down here to destroy property and steal. It’s as simple as that.”

The sentiment that the actions taken by individuals that night were separate from a peaceful protest is an opinion many community leaders in Scottsdale have come forward with voicing in recent days.

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