After a night of looting in Scottsdale and protests in downtown Phoenix and Tucson, Gov. Doug Ducey imposed a statewide curfew that will be in effect for the next week.
The curfew will run from 8 p.m. from 5 a.m., beginning tonight and ending June 8, the governor’s office announced Sunday.
Ducey said he was issuing a statewide emergency declaration and enacting the curfew at the request of local leaders.
“This gives law enforcement an additional tool to prevent the lawlessness we’ve seen here and in cities nationwide. Police will be equipped to make arrests of individuals who are planning to riot, loot or cause damage and unrest,” Ducey said in a press statement.
However, mayors in Phoenix and Tucson told The Arizona Republic they did not request the curfew and weren’t informed it was coming until Ducey announced it Sunday afternoon.
Gov @dougducey said the move came in response to requests from ‘local leaders.’ But mayors of Phoenix and Tucson (where bulk of protesting has happened the last few nights) said they didn’t ask for curfew or know it was coming. https://t.co/ZyuLU0Wg0q
— Maria Polletta🌵 (@mpolletta) May 31, 2020
The governor’s declaration also “authorizes an expanded National Guard mobilization to protect life and property throughout the state,” Ducey said.
People who are traveling to and from work, truckers and delivery service workers, people attending religious services, obtaining food, caring for a friend or family member, seeking medical attention or fleeing dangerous circumstances are exempted from the curfew.
Ducey’s announcement follows three nights of unrest as protesters took to the streets in response to a Minneapolis police officer’s killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, during an arrest. Demonstrators also protested the death of Dion Johnson, whom a Department of Public Safety trooper shot and killed on Monday. Over the course of three nights, protesters have broken windows in downtown Phoenix and police have fired tear gas against them.
On Saturday night, looters tore through the upscale Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall, stealing millions of dollars’ worth of merchandise, breaking windows and engaging in other acts of vandalism while Scottsdale police stood down.
Some critics, such as state Rep. Warren Petersen, R-Gilbert, questioned why the governor imposed a statewide curfew, rather than limiting it areas that have seen protests.
“Now a blanket curfew instead of a limited scope? Are you kidding me? Just stop!” Petersen wrote on Facebook.
Daniel Scarpinato, the governor’s chief of staff, said Ducey enacted a statewide curfew because the protests haven’t been limited to Maricopa and Pima counties. He said there have also been demonstrations in places like Prescott Valley and Yuma. The curfew order will give law enforcement agencies across the state the ability to address problems before they spiral out of control and to stop buildups, such as the one that occured before looters began ransacking Fashion Square Mall, he said.
“The activity has intensified and this is an important tool for law enforcement to manage these riots,” Scarpinato told Arizona Mirror.
In a written statement, the Arizona Senate Democratic caucus urged people to abide by the curfew so there is not “a license to further escalate tensions” because of gatherings that violate it. The Democrats also called on Ducey and other leaders to engage with communities about the “deep anger and frustration in our country centered around the mistreatment and murder of Black Americans” by law enforcement.
Likewise, House Minority Leader Charlene Fernandez issued a statement on behalf of the House Democratic caucus. She also encouraged obedience to the curfew order, though she said Democrats are concerned about both its scope and that Ducey didn’t “mention or address the issue of police brutality” toward demonstrators.
“No one in our caucus condones violence or vandalism, but Arizonans have the absolute right under the First Amendment to peacefully demonstrate, and it must not be infringed. You still have the right to raise your voice and demand change. Police treatment of people of color is a serious problem in our community and around the country and we must address it,” she said.
***UPDATED: This story has been updated with additional comments.