Groups of people from coast to coast protest police brutality after George Floyd died in Minneapolis police custody.
Jake Paul says he was documenting, not engaging in looting or vandalism, after viral videos emerged showing the YouTuber amid the destruction of a Scottsdale, Arizona mall.
“To be absolutely clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism,” Paul wrote in Twitter statement on Sunday to his 3.7 million followers, which was posted on his Instagram stories.
The videos emerged as protests erupted across the country following the death of George Floyd by police.
Paul, 23, said he was taking part in a peaceful protest and documenting, “which led to us being tear-gassed” and “forced to keep moving on foot.”
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“I do not condone violence, looting or breaking the law; however, I understand the anger and frustration that led to the destruction we witnessed, and while it’s not the answer, it’s important that people see it and collectively figure out how to move forward in a healthy way,” Paul said in the statement.
Video posted on social media Saturday night shows the masked Paul amid the damage of the Fashion Square Mall.
Scene on the ground: 12 arrests, ‘millions’ in damage after Scottsdale Fashion Square looted and vandalized
Scottsdale police said “millions of dollars in damages and theft” occurred in a late-night violence and looting that hit the mall and surrounding businesses. The department said 12 people were arrested and booked into jail.
Hundreds of people converged on the mall Saturday, smashing windows, tagging walls with graffiti and walking out with handfuls of merchandise.
The Phoenix chapter of Black Lives Matter put out a statement Saturday night saying it was not involved with the event at Scottsdale Fashion Square and expressed concern for the safety of the participants.
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