YouTube star Jake Paul has been charged with two crimes after facing a widespread reaction to a video of him in an Arizona shopping center while it was looted.
Scottsdale, Arizona authorities charged the 23-year-old internet star with criminal offenses and illegal assembly on Thursday – both crimes.
Police offered the public an official statement saying they had received “hundreds of tips” claiming that Paul was “a participant in the riot.”
Criminal activity: Jake Paul has been charged with two crimes after he was seen plundered in an Arizona shopping center
The statement stated: Following the riots and looting that took place on the evening of May 30, 2020 at the Scottsdale Fashion Square mall, Scottsdale police received hundreds of tips and videos identifying social media influencer Jake Joseph Paul (23) as a riot participant .
Our investigation revealed that Paul was present after the protest was declared unlawful and the rioters had to leave the area by the police.
Paul also entered illegally and stayed in the mall when it was closed. As a result, Paul has been charged with Criminal Trespass and Unlawful Assembly (both felony allegations).
“He has been summoned to appear in court within a month.”
Paul tried to distance himself from the situation in a statement on Sunday, saying that he was in no way involved in looting or vandalism.
“To be clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was involved in looting or vandalism,” Paul wrote.
Tipped: Police offered the public an official statement saying they had been given ‘hundreds of tips’ stating that Paul was ‘a riot participant’
Defensive: On Sunday, Paul released a statement claiming he was not involved in looting and was around for protests
“ For context, we have been doing all day to peacefully protest one of the most horrific injustices our country has ever seen, leading to tear gas being used to film the events and atrocities taking place in Arizona played.
“We were gassed and had to keep moving on foot. We filmed everything we saw in an attempt to share our experience and pay more attention to the anger felt in every neighborhood we traveled through; we were documenting strictly, not engaging. ‘
Paul added that he does not condone “violence, looting, or breaking the law.”
Blue also denied the charges against him and Paul in a statement released Saturday afternoon.
He wrote: To be clear, I am a videographer and it is my job to document almost everything. We strictly documented the situation and did our best to use our platform to raise awareness about the horrific event and the overall injustice.
“No one plundered or destroyed us, but it was certainly tragic to watch and although we understand the frustration, we do not tolerate or support such behavior.”
Escalation: Paul was shot near a group of Arizona agents who reportedly threw tear gas at people
What happened: Protesters outside the Fashion Square Mall seemed to be shooting fireworks at the entrance (photo)
Jake faced widespread backlash after cell phone footage shared by Paul’s videographer Andrew Blue showed the mall’s social media star at the time of the incident.
It is first seen outside the Fashion Square Mall as protesters seem to be shooting fireworks at the entrance of the building.
Later, Paul films a group of police officers stationed in the mall to curb looting or violence during George Floyd’s protests.
“Bunch of idiots, friend,” he says. The caption on the video reads “American is in ruins.”
He claims to have walked on a sidewalk near the officers who allegedly caught him.
“I literally walked here, all the way there. these f ****** idiots raged me. I’m not doing anything, bro. Look at them pointing those weapons at me, “said Paul.
On the spot: Paul (left) said in a later statement that he was in Arizona to fight police brutality and protest the death of George Floyd
“Look at them. Twenty guns on me. Twenty guns on me right now, “he adds before saying” Rest in peace, George Floyd, “throwing his middle finger at the officers.
At one point, protesters seem to break into the Fashion Square Mall through the entrance of a P.F. Changs restaurant.
Footage then cuts to Paul and a group of friends at the mall as looters break into stores.
After two people attempt to destroy the storefront of a Swarovski jeweler, Paul smiles as he sprints out of the mall with his friends.
Neither Paul nor his friends seem to be taking anything from the mall.
He was there: after the entrance of a P.F. Chang’s was damaged, images showed Paul (center) and others in the Fashion Square Mall after closing time
Paul was initially accused of being a looter himself, which infuriated those who pointed out that Paul had multi-millionaire status.
In 2017, Paul was ranked by Forbes as one of the highest paid YouTube celebrities with a net worth of $ 11.5 million.
People were also upset about trivializing the George Floyd protests and the Black Lives Matter movement for new video content.
“Jake Paul, a millionaire who takes to the streets to destroy shops, cars, etc. while filming everything for new YouTube content. He’s part of the problem, “said one user.
“I’m so f *** angry [about] scottsdale fashion square is being looted … jake paul + his other rich white friends take advantage of this for attention + fame while doing nothing to support the actual movement, ‘wrote another.
Serious? Some people were offended by allegations that Paul had looted stores because of his status as a multi-millionaire
Not a good look: others feared the move would downplay the George Floyd protests and the Black Lives Matter movement