ARIZONA NEWS

Penzone: Criminal behavior must be distinguished from peaceful protests

May 31, 2020, 6:27 PM | Updated: Jun 1, 2020, 5:32 am
(Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)...
(Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)
(Facebook Photo/Maricopa County Sheriff's Office)

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone issued a statement on Sunday in support of those peacefully protesting police abuse.

In a Tweet posted at 5:09 p.m., he distinguished those peacefully protesting the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota law enforcement from those motivated by criminal impulses.

“As the public demonstrations continue throughout our Valley and nation, it is imperative we separate lawful thoughtful exhibitions of peaceful protest from the egregious acts of criminal behavior and violence,” Penzone said

“The event leading to the death of Mr. George Floyd was a criminal example of police abuse. It was not policing.”

The Maricopa County sheriff added that Americans and Arizona residents must open their hearts and ears to the fears of minority communities — fears Penzone says are being realized.

Penzone’s statements came after three consecutive nights of demonstrators protesting throughout the Valley.

On Saturday night, vandalism and looting at Scottsdale Fashion Square occurred into the morning hours, causing the shopping district and a portion of Camelback Road to be closed on Sunday.

Earlier on Sunday, Penzone issued a press release stating he and his department are taking all possible actions to mitigate potential danger from Maricopa County residents.

He added that law enforcement is also currently working to contain the Ocotillo Fire in Cave Creek — which had burned 1,216 acres and was only 10% contained Sunday night.

Penzone then advised residents to responsibly mitigate threats and protect those most at risk.

“I ask that you be vigilant to mitigate the threats to yourselves, personal property and any members of a vulnerable population,” he said.

“Please be alert and do not hesitate to call law enforcement if they are needed.”

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey issued a statewide emergency declaration on Sunday along with a curfew that will take effect at 8 p.m.

The curfew will be lifted each morning 5 a.m. until it is set to expire on June 8, according to a press release.

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(KTAR News Photo/Peter Samore) (KTAR News Photo/Peter Samore) Downtown Phoenix streets are barricaded June 1, 2020. (KTAR News Photo/Jim Cross) Barrier at First Avenue and Washington Street. (KTAR News Photo/Jim Cross) KTAR News Photo/Jim Cross) (KTAR News Photo/Jim Cross) Protesters gather in front of Phoenix City Hall, Saturday, May 30, 2020, in Phoenix while protesting the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Protesters gather in front of Phoenix City Hall, Saturday, May 30, 2020, in Phoenix while protesting the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) 
              Protesters take cover in front of Phoenix Police Headquarters as they try to avoid rubber bullets and tear gas being shot at them Saturday, May 30, in Phoenix. The protest was held for the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in police custody Monday with much of the arrest captured on video of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of Floyd. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
            (KTAR News Photo/Peter Samore) Protesters assemble near Phoenix Police Headquarters Saturday, May 30, in Phoenix, protesting the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in police custody with much of the arrest captured on video of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of Floyd. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Protesters deal with tear gas in front of Phoenix Police Headquarters Saturday, May 30, in Phoenix, protesting the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in police custody Monday with much of the arrest captured on video of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of Floyd. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) (KTAR News Photo/Gabriel Gamino) Phoenix Police stand in front of Phoenix Police Headquarters Saturday, May 30, in Phoenix, waiting for protesters marching to protest the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in police custody with much of the arrest captured on video of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of Floyd. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Phoenix Police keep protesters away from Phoenix Police Headquarters Saturday, May 30, in Phoenix, protesting the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in police custody with much of the arrest captured on video of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of Floyd. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) Protesters gather in front of Phoenix Police Headquarters Saturday, May 30, in Phoenix, protesting the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in police custody with much of the arrest captured on video of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of Floyd. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) People march near Phoenix Police Headquarters, Saturday, May 30, 2020, in Phoenix, while protesting the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in Minneapolis police custody on May 25. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

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Penzone: Criminal behavior must be distinguished from peaceful protests