Penzone: Criminal behavior must be distinguished from peaceful protests
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.”
— Paul Penzone (@Penzone4sheriff) June 1, 2020
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.
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, 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.