Scottsdale police charge YouTuber Jake Paul over Fashion Square unrest
PHOENIX – Police said Thursday they have charged YouTube personality Jake Paul with two misdemeanor crimes for his role in unrest at the Scottsdale Fashion Square last weekend.
Scottsdale police said they received hundreds of tips and videos identifying Paul, 23, as a riot participant.
Paul was present at the shopping and dining center Saturday night after an unlawful assembly had been declared and people were ordered to leave the area, police said.
He also entered and stayed inside the mall after it was closed, police said.
Police charged Paul with criminal trespass and unlawful assembly.
Paul was seen on social media (viewer discretion is advised) observing while windows at P.F. Chang’s China Bistro were being smashed. He was also seen inside the mall as other looters vandalized the stores.
The mall closed at 5 p.m., and the incident began at 10 p.m.
Sgt. Benjamin Hoster said he didn’t know whether Paul has an attorney and that he was issued a summons to appear in court “in a month.”
Paul, who has over 20 million YouTube subscribers, said in video posted Wednesday, that he and friends went to the mall to attend a protest against the death of George Floyd while in custody of Minneapolis.
They instead found people engaged in looting and property damage that included shattered windows of offices and stores, Paul said, adding that he didn’t participate in that activity.
“That’s the way it looked on camera. However that isn’t the case,” he said.
Paul said he kept walking in the mall area despite encountering the criminal activity because he still wanted to find the protest.
He said it was upsetting that social media posts accused him of vandalism. “I’m above that. I don’t need to vandalize. I don’t need to loot and I know it’s not the way forward.”
Paul said he was an “easy target” and that he has learned a lesson about entering situations that could pose problems. “But it’s not going to stop me from doing what I need to do,” he said.
Police have announced 20 arrests connected to looting, trespassing and vandalism at the mall that night.
On Sunday, Paul posted a statement on his Twitter account denying engagement in any looting or vandalism.
“We filmed everything we saw in an effort to share our experience and bring more attention to the anger felt in every neighborhood we traveled through,” said Paul, who added he was spending the day peacefully protesting. “We were strictly documenting, not engaging.”
Paul stated he doesn’t condone violence, breaking the law or looting, but did say he understands the anger and frustration that led to the destruction.
“While it’s not the answer, it’s important that people see it and collectively figure out how to move forward in a healthy way.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.