Looting at Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall and other places around the country on May 30 and 31 seemed organized to many observers.
In Scottsdale, the criminal activity of May 30 was followed by online threats the next day to attack white women in the city, some of which police said had originated in "anarchist" forums. Scottsdale Mayor Jim Mayor Lane said the culprits were tied to antifa.
But out of the 34 people arrested by the city in connection with theft and damage at the mall, investigators could find no ties to antifa, white-supremacist groups, drug cartels, or other groups, police said.
"We have not detected any patterns other than most all of the suspects learned about the protests via social media," said Scottsdale spokesperson Sergeant Ben Hoster. "All suspects interviewed claimed to have started looting spontaneously."
The damage and rioting marred the peaceful nature of most of the anti-police-brutality protests taking place across the country since the violent death of George Floyd in Minnesota under the knee of a police officer. Some observers and politicians, most prominently President Trump and Attorney General William Barr, claimed that members of antifa were behind much of the hooliganism. Locally, Arizona Congressman Paul Gosar suggested as much in a May 31 Twitter response to Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who had suggested it was both left- and right-wing agitators causing the worst of the damage.
"I don’t agree with this equivocation," Gosar replied publicly to Rubio. "There is no evidence of 'right wing' groups involved in any of this. It’s all Antifa and BLM and the like."
Nationwide, neither law enforcement investigators nor journalists have so far found evidence that antifa or any organized groups were behind the looting and vandalism in U.S. cities. Federal charging documents filed in the wake of the incidents did not allege any connections, though some suspects were "left-wing" and one — who was caught in Massachusetts with a Molotov cocktail — muttered something about being "with the anarchist group," though it's unclear what he meant. As the Wall Street Journal put it in a June 8 article, the crime suspects consisted of "a diffuse collection of what appear to be self-styled anarchists and opportunists, lone actors and clusters of alleged extremist cells, with a range of allegiances, interests and motivations."
On Friday, police announced the latest eight of the 34 arrested. They included:
* Angelo Brady II, 24, was arrested and accused of trespassing. "He was linked to the riots by a video he posted," police said
* Madison Mateevici- Dailey, 18, was arrested for possession of stolen property and trafficking stolen property.
* Ariana Burrell, 24, was arrested and accused of possession of stolen property and trafficking stolen property.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
* Tyree Eubanks, 35, was arrested and accused of trafficking stolen property, possession of stolen property, and a weapons violation.
All are from the Phoenix metro area.
Police also arrested four juveniles for various crimes including trafficking or possession of stolen property, trespassing, and criminal damage; three were from Scottsdale, another was from the Phoenix metro area. The latest four adults arrested are shown below: