The owner of a Native American jewelry store in Winslow who was cited for allegedly violating Gov. Doug Ducey’s executive order shuttering nonessential businesses during the early days of the COVID-19 crisis won his case after the Navajo County attorney dismissed the charge against him.
Navajo County Attorney Brad Carlyon informed Daniel Mazon on Wednesday that he was dismissing the charge against him, according to documents Mazon’s son posted on Facebook. Mazon faced a misdemeanor charge of operating a business in violation of the governor’s stay-at-home order.
“We Won! Charges have been dropped but not without a fight,” Joshua Mazon wrote on Facebook on Thursday, decrying Carlyon, a Democrat, as “the face of corrupt authoritarian government and future communism.”
Daniel Mazon declined to comment to the Arizona Mirror. Carlyon could not immediately be reached for comment.
Winslow police cited Mazon in April for keeping his Southwest Indian Art Center open after Ducey issued his stay-at-home order, which forced businesses deemed nonessential to temporarily close their doors. The Winslow Police Department said Mayor Tom McCauley received several complaints alleging that Mazon was keeping his store open in defiance of the closure order. In response to the governor’s order, Mazon began selling items like hay, dog food, candy bars and other items that he believed would qualify his store as an essential business.
Grocery stores, convenience stores and businesses that sold supplies for agriculture and livestock were deemed essential under the governor’s executive order.
After the police charged Mazon, city officials reversed course and told him he could legally reopen his store because he’d begun selling essential items.
In his motion to dismiss the charges, Carlyon wrote that Mazon provided the state with receipts proving that he’d purchased hay for sale at his store. Carlyon wrote that selling livestock feed qualified Mazon’s store as an essential business at the time police issued the citation.
“While the sale of hay is an insignificant portion of the defendant’s business and appears to have been undertaken for the purpose of circumventing the closure of the defendant’s business, it is an activity that was defined as an essential activity under the Governor’s Executive Order,” Carylon wrote.
Joshua Mazon told conservative radio host James T Harris that the prosecutor told his father at a hearing in late June that he was looking to dismiss the charge but wanted to see receipts from the store to prove it was selling essential items. He said the Mazon family had to continue fighting with the county attorney’s office when it started questioning the profit margin that Daniel Mazon made off those items.
“We complied with that request even though I believe it is their responsibility to prove guilty not ours to prove innocence. Did they ask Walmart to prove essential? Once we handed over the requested receipts he continued his fight by saying we didn’t make a certain profit margin,” Mazon wrote on Facebook.
He said it was also aggravating that Carlyon wrote that essential items were an “insignificant” part of Daniel Mazon’s businesses and sold for the purpose of circumventing Ducey’s order.
Several Republican lawmakers championed Mazon’s cause after he was cited.
“I am angry that this family had to endure this,” Rep. Kelly Townsend, a Mesa Republican who has been sharply critical of Ducey’s orders closing businesses, wrote on Twitter after the case was dropped.