YouTuber Jake Paul is facing some serious charges. According to People, Paul has been handed criminal charges after being identified in a video of looting at an Arizona mall. The looting took place amid protests in response to the death of George Floyd in police custody.
Paul was charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass and misdemeanor unlawful assembly by the Scottsdale Police Department.
On Sunday, Paul wrote in a tweet that he had not taken part in any looting, and had instead been spending the day “doing our part to peaceful protest.” He said that no one in his group had participated in any looting or vandalism. Paul continued, explaining that they were protesting the injustice faced by Floyd and that they were tear-gassed.
He said that they filmed the encounter in order to share it and that they filmed everything they saw that day, including looting.
“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 continued.
He said that everyone was doing their best to raise awareness, and this was not the time to attack one another. Paul documented the protests on his Instagram story but was later spotted in a separate video watching looters vandalize a P.F. Chang’s restaurant. He was not seen damaging any property in the video.
A spokesperson for the Scottsdale Police Department explained the charges, saying that they had received hundreds of tips identifying Paul as a participant in the riots.
“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),” the spokesperson continued.
Paul is not the only famous face to have an encounter with authorities as a result of his presence at riots and protests over Floyd’s death. Riverdale actor Cole Sprouse took to his Instagram page to explain that he had been arrested during a protest after he decided to remain a part of the protest past curfew.
Actor John Cusack also described an encounter with police in which his bike was hit with a baton.