The Scottsdale Police Department has announced the arrest and/or charges of nine additional individuals following Saturday night’s civil unrest --- including social media star Jake Paul.
Mr. Paul, who’s been charged with two misdemeanor charges, criminal trespass and unlawful assembly, has maintained his innocence on social media since the events occurred.
Police officials say following the riots and looting on May 30 in the Scottsdale Fashion Square area, they have received hundreds of tips and videos identifying social media influencer, Jake Joseph Paul, 23, as a participant in the riot. Police officials announced Mr. Paul’s charges on June 4.
The police investigation revealed that Mr. Paul was present after the protest was declared an unlawful assembly and people were ordered to leave the area.
Mr. Paul entered and remained inside the mall when it was closed, police say.
Prior to Mr. Paul’s charges, on June 3 the SPD detectives arrested or charged eight other individuals and recovered over $46,000 worth of property.
On May 31, Mr. Paul released a written statement on Twitter stating: “To be absolutely clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism.”
He explained his group spent the day peacefully protesting, calling the death of George Floyd “one of the most horrific injustices our country has ever seen.”
Mr. Paul says he was tear-gassed for filming the events that unfolded in Scottsdale.
On June 3, the YouTube star published a 7-minute video showing footage from the night and again stating his innocence, walking viewers through his version of events.
The YouTube video is labeled as a fundraiser for Black Lives Matter, and will be deleted over the weekend. Mr. Paul has raised more than $35,000 of a $50,000 goal at the time of publication.
Mr. Paul says based on social media footage that surfaced following his time in Scottsdale, it did look like looting was occurring --- but he says there’s a lot more to the story.
“When we heard there were going to be protests taking place in Arizona, we wanted to be involved and show our support,” Mr. Paul says. “The story is actually pretty simple and it was twisted and exploited by the media to be something that it wasn’t.”
Mr. Paul explained in his video, at 10 p.m. when the protests were supposed to be starting, he followed people to where the protests were said to be happening.
“As we started to walk down the street we were blown away by what we were starting to see. The first thing I saw was when I looked to the right was the side of a mall window had been completely shattered. Then as we kept on going we noticed the buildings in the whole entire area, the glass was completely shattered,” Mr. Paul said. “Quite frankly, I was in shock and didn’t know what to make of the situation.”
As the situation worsened, Mr. Paul describes having tear gas thrown at the crowd.
He says as the riot escalated, he and his group decided to go back to their car.
But, police were blocking intersections to attempt to keep rioters in one area, and to stop the crowd from dispersing into neighborhoods.
Mr. Paul says they changed their course of action to avoid police.
“As we approach the mall, I see one of the most absurd things I’ve ever seen in my life. Hundreds of people running in and outside of the mall with bags, stealing everything inside of the mall,” he said.
“In hindsight, everything is 20/20 and we shouldn’t have been anywhere near what was going on, and we should have removed ourselves from the situation. But in the heat of the moment, I wanted to document what was going on and witness it for myself, and that’s when I made the poor decision to go inside of the mall.”
Mr. Paul says looting and vandalizing is not the way forward; however, he says he doesn’t regret documenting the night.
Girlfriend and boyfriend Sky Black, a 19-year-old female Valley resident and, Shemar Cooper, an 18-year-old male Valley resident, used a Scottsdale vacation rental property as a staging location for their criminal activity at Scottsdale Fashion Square, according to police.
They were arrested for burglary and trafficking stolen property, and detectives say they recovered $11,000 in property from the pair.
Three others, who police say are Tucson residents, were in the rental and were identified as Christopher Raybon (18-year-old male), Ewveromvon Usuman (18-year-old male) and Labrina Johnson (19- year- old female).
All three were cited and released on charges of trespassing for their activity at the mall.
Police also arrested Robby Galarza, a 21-year-old male and Valley resident, for burglary of the Tiffany’s jewelry store located in the mall. A watch, valued at $4,100 was recovered at the time of his arrest.
A 17-year-old male and Valley resident is being charged with burglary for his involvement, according to police. Over $3,500 in stolen property was recovered in his possession. Due to age, his name is not being released, police say.
Maurianna Griffin, a 30-year-old female and Valley resident, is being charged with burglary for her involvement at the mall. She was found in possession of over $28,000 worth of merchandise consisting mostly of designer bags and sunglasses.
In total, police say they have made 20 arrests for crimes committed during Saturday’s civil unrest. The investigation is still ongoing, officials say, and are actively following up on evidence, tips and information.
“We anticipate more arrests and will provide updates as they become available,” a SPD spokesman said in an emailed press release.