YouTube star Jake Paul has been charged with two crimes after facing widespread backlash over video of him at an Arizona mall while it was being looted.
Scottsdale, Arizona authorities charged the 23-year-old internet star with criminal trespass and unlawful assembly – both misdemeanors – on Thursday.
Police offered an official statement to the public, saying they were sent ‘hundreds of tips’ claiming Paul was ‘a participant in the riot.’
Criminal activity: Jake Paul has been charged with two misdemeanor crimes after he was seen at an Arizona mall that was being looted
The statement read: ;’Following the riots and looting that occurred on the evening of May 30th 2020 at Scottsdale Fashion Square mall, the Scottsdale Police Department received hundreds of tips and videos identifying social media influencer, Jake Joseph Paul (23), as a participant in the riot.
‘Our investigation has revealed that Paul was present after the protest was declared an unlawful assembly and the rioters were ordered to leave the area by the police.
‘Paul also unlawfully entered and remained inside of the mall when it was closed. As a result, Paul has been charged with Criminal Trespass and Unlawful Assembly (both misdemeanor charges).
‘He was issued a summons to appear in court in a month.’
Paul tried to distance himself from the situation in a Sunday statement, saying he was in no way involved in any looting or vandalism.
‘To be absolutely clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism,’ wrote Paul.
Tipped off: Police offered an official statement to the public, saying they were sent ‘hundreds of tips’ saying Paul was ‘a participant in the riot’
Defensive: On Sunday, Paul released a statement that claimed he was not involved in any looting and was in the area for protests
‘For context, we spent the day doing our part to peacefully protest one of the most horrific injustices our country has ever seen, which led to use being tear-gassed for filming the events and brutality that were unfolding in Arizona.
‘We were gassed and forced to keep moving on foot. We filmed everything we saw in an effort to share our experience and bring more attention to the anger felt in every neighborhood we traveled through; we were strictly documenting, not engaging.’
Paul added that he does not condone ‘violence, looting, or breaking the law.’
Blue also denied the allegations against him and Paul in a statement released Saturday afternoon.
He wrote: Just for clarity, I am a videographer and my job is to document virtually everything. We were strictly documenting the situation and doing our part to use our platform to raise awareness about the horrific event and overall injustice.
‘Nobody with us was looting or vandalizing, bit it certainly was tragic to see and while we understand the frustration, we don’t condone or support any behavior like that.’
Escalation: Paul was recorded near a group of Arizona officers who allegedly threw tear gas at people
What happened: Demonstrators outside the Fashion Square Mall appeared to shoot fireworks at the entrance (pictured)
Jake faced widespread backlash after cell phone footage shared by Paul’s videographer Andrew Blue showed the social media star at the mall at the time of the incident.
He is first spotted outside the Fashion Square Mall as protesters appear to shoot fireworks at the building’s entrance.
Later, Paul films a group of police officers stationed at the mall to curb any looting or violence amid the George Floyd protests.
‘Bunch of f****** idiots, bro,’ 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 teargassed him.
‘Literally I walked right here, right up to there. these f****** idiots teargassed me. I ain’t doing s***, bro. Look at them pointing guns at me,’ Paul said.
At the scene: 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’ and flipping his middle finger at the officers.
At some point, demonstrators appear to break into the Fashion Square Mall by damaging the entrance of a P.F. Changs restaurant.
Footage then cuts to Paul and group of friends inside the mall as looters break into stores.
After two people attempt to shatter the storefront of a Swarovski jewelry store, Paul laughs as he sprints out of the mall with his friends.
Neither Paul, nor his friends appear to take anything from inside the mall.
He was there: After the entrance of a P.F. Chang’s was damaged, footage showed Paul (center) and and others inside the Fashion Square Mall after hours
Paul was initially accused of being a looter himself, which outraged those who pointed out Paul’s status as a multimillionaire.
In 2017, Paul was ranked as one of the highest paid YouTube celebrities by Forbes with a net worth of $11.5million.
People were also upset over the trivializing the George Floyd protests and Black Lives Matter movement for new video content.
‘Jake Paul, a millionaire going out on the streets to destroy shops, cars etc while filming everything for new youtube content. He’s part of the problem,’ said one user.
‘I am so f******angry [about] scottsdale fashion square being looted…jake paul + his other rich white friends are capitalizing off of this for attention + notoriety while doing nothing to support the actual movement,’ another wrote.
Seriously? Some people took offense to allegations that Paul was looting stores because of his status as a multimillionaire
Not a good look: Others worried the move would trivialize the George Floyd protests and Black Lives Matter movement