Scottsdale leaders condemn Saturday’s riots, prepare for future unrest
PHOENIX — Scottsdale leaders condemned the criminal activity of Saturday night’s rioters while addressing law enforcement’s response during a press conference Sunday.
Despite some criticism that law enforcement lagged in its response to the scene of Saturday’s looting at Scottsdale Fashion Square, Mayor Jim Lane said he was satisfied with the actions of Scottsdale police and supporting agencies.
He added that the strategy of the law enforcement was to protect citizens and the surrounding residential neighborhood — not the rioters.
“We cannot allow the forces of evil to create chaos in Scottsdale,” he said.
Scottsdale Police Chief Alan Rodbell said that his department was in talks with the Arizona National Guard in order to prevent future looting, but declined offering further details.
“We plan on taking this a step further,” he said.
Scottsdale Assistant Police Chief Scott Popp also said law enforcement was preparing for “potential activity.”
On Sunday, the Scottsdale Police Department announced in a press release it had arrested 12 individuals in connection with last night’s criminal activity.
Although Scottsdale police only initially anticipated 50 to 100 people to participate in the demonstrations at Fashion Square, Popp estimated there were about 500 rioters in the area.
Following eventual support from other Valley law enforcement agencies, there were roughly 250 officers on the ground to contain the property damage.
Popp added that although some rioters were equipped with various spray bottles, others were heavily armed with AR-15s and body armor.
Rodbell said he’s never seen anything like what occurred last night in his entire career.
Popp confirmed law enforcement’s use of chemical weapons to secure the Fashion Square area–which finally happened around 5 a.m. Sunday.
“We did use chemical munitions,” he said “…Which we though was totally appropriate.”
Lane added he believed the Saturday rioters were driven by criminal motives rather than anti-law enforcement sentiments.
“Last night wasn’t about protests,” he said. “These people came down here to destroy property and to steal.”
Saturday night marked the third consecutive evening in which Valley demonstrators took to the streets in protest of Monday’s deaths of Minnesotan George Floyd and Arizonan Dion Johnson at the hands of law enforcement.
Prior to the press conference, the Scottsale Police Department announced Fashion Square would be closed for the day due to last night’s criminal activity.
Camelback Road was also closed from Goldwater Boulevard to Scottsdale Road on Sunday.
As a result of last night’s criminal activity, Scottsdale’s Fashion Square Mall, as well as Camelback Rd from Goldwater Bl to Scottsdale Rd is CLOSED today. This area is to be avoided. Updates on last night’s activity will be provided later today. pic.twitter.com/GDclrlM0oC
— ScottsdalePD (@ScottsdalePD) May 31, 2020
Earlier on Sunday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued a statewide Declaration of Emergency as well as a curfew set to take effect Sunday at 8 p.m. until expiring June 8 at 5 a.m.