Phoenix Police Arrested More Than 200 Protesters Following Ducey's Curfew Order

About 200 people were arrested on May 31 after the state's 8 p.m. curfew and a peaceful George Floyd protest that occurred earlier that day.
About 200 people were arrested on May 31 after the state's 8 p.m. curfew and a peaceful George Floyd protest that occurred earlier that day. YouTube/Channel 12 News
Phoenix police arrested more than 200 people during Sunday night's demonstrations against police brutality as many protesters defied Governor Doug Ducey's 8 p.m. curfew.

About 20 or 30 of the arrested people are accused of violating the curfew order, police said.

The arrests came on the fourth night of protests in Arizona, which mirrored those nationwide — and worldwide — over outrage from the video-recorded death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd under the knee of now-former-cop Derek Chauvin, who stands accused of third-degree murder and manslaughter. Many people in Sunday's protest were also marching in the name of Dion Johnson, who was killed in an officer-involved shooting on May 25 by a state Department of Public Safety trooper.

Sunday's action in the metro Phoenix area was subdued compared to that of the previous night, which saw 100 arrests, plus looting and millions of dollars worth of damage to Fashion Square Mall in Scottsdale. Ducey declared a state of emergency at about 1 p.m., putting a one-week curfew in place that makes it a crime for anyone to be in a public place between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. Exceptions are numerous: You can still be out during those hours if you're commuting between and home work, taking care of a person or pet, seeking medical care for yourself or others, fleeing a dangerous circumstance, or attending religious services.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams told Troy Hayden of Fox 10 News (KSAZ-TV) this morning that the curfew helped police keep order on Sunday.

"At the end of the day, curfew was effective," she said, adding that it "gave a clear separation between people here to exercise First Amendment rights, and those who have different motives."

Thousands of people gathered in downtown Phoenix at 5 p.m. for the fourth night of protests. Just after 8 p.m., cops reminded protesters of the curfew, and some in the crowd who remained set off fireworks and threw rocks and bottles at police, according to police. Cops declared an unlawful assembly at 8:10 p.m.

The arrested people included "more than 200 adults" suspected of rioting, unlawful assembly, disorderly conduct, and curfew violations, and "more than 10 juveniles" suspected of curfew violations, disorderly conduct, rioting, and unlawful assembly.

Police have not yet released an estimate of damage.

Ducey's emergency order refers to the Scottsdale mall looting, and the damage caused by some protesters in Phoenix and Tucson from Thursday through Saturday.

Also, on Sunday, Scottsdale police tried to squelch a rumor that began on internet sites related to "anarchists and other people," according to Scottsdale police spokesperson Sergeant Ben Hoster. The message threatened that "they" would start "raping and murdering white women and children."

"We are aware of a widely dispersed message referencing targeted attacks on Scottsdale residences and women in our community," Scottsdale police said on their Twitter site. "At this time the message is unsubstantiated. If you see something suspicious dial 911."

Hoster told Phoenix New Times on Monday morning that no protests, looting, or riots occurred in Scottsdale on Sunday night, nor were there any arrests for curfew violations.

Below: One of the many videos posted to social media depicting protests in Phoenix on May 31, 2020.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.
Contact: Ray Stern