SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (WGHP/AP/NEXSTAR) — Jake Paul, 23, a celebrity YouTuber and social media influencer, faces misdemeanor charges for his involvement in a protest in a closed mall in Arizona, according to Scottsdale police.
On May 30, Paul, who has over 20 million subscribers, was spotted in the crowd at Scottsdale Fashion Square, TMZ reports. He is a resident of Los Angeles, and it is unclear why he was in Scottsdale. He says he was merely trying to find people protesting against the death of George Floyd.
Scottsdale police say they confirmed Jake Paul attended and remained in the mall after police ordered it cleared out. Sgt. Benjamin Hoster said he didn’t know whether Paul has an attorney, and that he was issued a summons to appear in court “in a month.”
Police determined that “Paul was present after the protest was declared an unlawful assembly and the rioters were urged to leave the area by police.” He entered and remained inside of the mall when it was closed, police said.
Paul tweeted a statement in response:
Scottsdale police say the gathering turned into a “riot that saw several dozens of individuals collectively damaging property at and near the mall, breaking into businesses and looting the interiors,” according to KSAZ.
Paul said in Wednesday video that he and friends went to the mall to protest the death of George Floyd, but instead found people engaged in looting and property damage, including breaking windows.
Paul said that he didn’t participate in that activity. “That’s the way it looked on camera. However that isn’t the case,” he said.
Paul said he kept walking in the mall area despite encountering the criminal activity because he still wanted to find the protest. He said it was upsetting that social media posts accused him of vandalism. “I’m above that. I don’t need to vanadalize. I don’t need to loot, and I know it’s not the way forward.”
Paul said he was an “easy target” and that he has learned a lesson about entering situations that could pose problems. “But it’s not going to stop me from doing what I need to do.”
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