Police in Scottsdale, Arizona, said they have arrested dozens of people and recovered $46,000 of property in connection with looting and rioting at Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall and nearby businesses on Saturday.
The Scottsdale Police Department said in a statement Wednesday that they had made eight additional arrests, bringing the total to twenty, and recovered property, in connection with an incident at the mall that authorities earlier called “unprecedented.”
“On Saturday, May 30th, the City of Scottsdale experienced an unprecedented event. Hundreds of people came to Scottsdale, specifically, the Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall, under the guise of protesting police violence,” Scottsdale police said in a statement cited by ABC15 Arizona. “While some may have indeed come to join what they believed would be a peaceful protest, what occurred was neither peaceful, nor a protest. It was a riot that saw several dozens of individuals collectively damaging property at and near the mall, breaking into businesses and looting the interiors.”
Footage shared on social media showed looters jumping into and out of the mall through broken windows and the sound of breaking glass could be heard.
Millions of dollars of damage was reported after multiple stores were broken into and vandalized on the night of May 30, local news KTAR reported, with names of businesses that were targeted including Neiman Marcus, Urban Outfitters, and the Apple Store.
Other footage showed shattered glass at the Apple Store and debris strewn on the ground.
Police said that as a result of the criminal activity, the mall and area around it had to be closed.
As a result of last night’s criminal activity, Scottsdale’s Fashion Square Mall, as well as Camelback Rd from Goldwater Bl to Scottsdale Rd is CLOSED today. This area is to be avoided. Updates on last night’s activity will be provided later today. pic.twitter.com/GDclrlM0oC
— ScottsdalePD (@ScottsdalePD) May 31, 2020
Police were caught off guard, according to KTAR, when around 500 people showed up at a demonstration at the shopping center, while authorities expected only between 50 and 100.
“We built our response based on the intel that we had,” Scottsdale Police Department Chief Alan Rodbell told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Gaydos and Chad Show. He denied that the department sat idly by and let the looting happen.
“Some property damage occurred before we could respond, but we never gave up property and said ‘OK, have your way with this,’” he told the outlet.
After reports of damage to businesses, Scottsdale police declared the demonstration an “unlawful assembly” and ordered people to disperse at risk of arrest.
Other law enforcement agencies responded to the scene to assist, dispersing the crowd at around 5 a.m., KTAR reported.
Rodbell said officers “didn’t observe any behavior that was worthy of shooting people,” but Scottsdale Assistant Police Chief Scott Popp told a press conference Sunday that police used “chemical munitions” to control the crowd.
Scottsdale police on Wednesday said they expect to make more arrests in connection with the looting and property destruction.