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Ducey orders 8 pm curfew across Arizona after 2nd night of unrest

Protests continue after death of George Floyd while arrested by Minn. police

After a second night of tense protests prompted by the death of George Floyd in Minnesota, Gov. Doug Ducey said Sunday he's ordering an 8 p.m. curfew across Arizona, in effect for a week.

The order bars all persons from being present in any public place each night, except for law enforcement and emergency services, reporters, and one very substantial loophole: anyone patronizing or working at a private business, or traveling to one.

Ducey announced his move in a tweet, providing no details about how his declaration of a state of emergency will be enforced. More than an hour later, his office posted the text of the emergency order. Tucson officials said that they were blindsided by the order.

The curfew will be in effect until 5 a.m. each day. It is scheduled to end next Monday morning.

Full text: Ducey's state of emergency curfew order

The governor's declaration came just a few hours after he issued a statement Sunday morning, condemning the "looting and violence we saw last night, especially in Scottsdale."

"Destruction of property does not qualify as freedom of expression," Ducey said.

The curfew is "an extraordinary and sweeping measure that raises serious constitutional concerns," the ACLU said.

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Ducey first tweeted about his declaration, but did not immediately release a copy of his orders, leaving many questions about its provisions and enforcement unanswered:

At the request of local leaders and in coordination with state and local law enforcement, I'm issuing a statewide Declaration of Emergency, with a curfew in place starting at 8:00 p.m. tonight and effective for one week.

This gives law enforcement an additional tool to prevent the lawlessness we've seen here and in cities nationwide. Police will be equipped to make arrests of individuals who are planning to riot, loot or cause damage and unrest.

Today's declaration also authorizes an expanded National Guard mobilization to protect life and property throughout the state. Our office will continue to communicate with local law enforcement to provide whatever resources we can.

Between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m., "all persons are prohibited from using, standing, sitting, traveling or being present on any public street or in any public place, including for the purpose of travel, with the following exemptions:"

  • All law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics or other medical personnel,  National Guard, as well as any other emergency response personnel authorized by the State of Arizona, and credentialed members of the media.
  • Individuals traveling directly to and from work; attending religious services; commercial trucking and delivery services; obtaining food; caring for a family member, friend, or animal; patronizing or operating private businesses; seeking medical care or fleeing dangerous circumstances; and travel for any of the above services.

Under the order, "'travel' includes, without limitation, travel on foot, bicycle, skateboard, scooter, motorcycle, automobile, or public transit, or any other mode of transporting a person from one location to another."

Related opinion: George Floyd protests: Who's controlling the narrative of Black America?

Ducey's order defines "public place" as "any place, whether on privately or publicly owned property, accessible to the general public, including but not limited to public streets and roads, alleys, highways, driveways, sidewalks, parks, vacant lots, and unsupervised property." Exempt care" means necessary medical services for an individual’s self or family member.

Violating the order is a Class 1 misdemeanor pursuant to A.R.S. § 26-317 and is punishable by up to six (6) months in jail and a fine of $2500 in addition to any other violation under Title 13.

'Serious constitutional concerns'

"The statewide curfew announced today by Gov. Ducey is an extraordinary and sweeping measure that raises serious constitutional concerns, said Victoria Lopez, legal director of the Arizona ACLU. "Such actions restrict the rights of protesters and will undoubtedly lead to selective enforcement in Black and brown communities. We urge the governor and other elected officials across the state to seek a less restrictive approach and to meaningfully engage community leaders to address longstanding concerns with racist policing practices."

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"Black and brown people should not have to live in fear of being killed by police," the state ACLU branch said in a news release in response to Ducey's order to limit nighttime protests. "People across the country are rightfully demanding justice and accountability. The systemic racism in police agencies must end."

"People have the constitutional right to protest and record the police in public spaces. We call on state and local law enforcement to respect demonstrators’ 1st Amendment rights and avoid resorting to the use of force, including chemical agents and projectiles," the civil rights group said. "The dangers of chemical agents like tear gas have been well-documented and the use of these materials is particularly egregious while we’re in the middle of a global pandemic."

Tucson leaders blindsided by curfew order

Despite Ducey's statement that "local leaders" requested the curfew, Tucson's city leadership weren't kept in the loop by the governor.

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said that she learned of the order from his tweets, and that neither she nor Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus were notified of it.

"We have less than six hours to plan and have not see the (executive order)," she said on Twitter. "During times of emergency, it's critical that we have a strong line of communication."

Related: 100s of protesters, Tucson police face off during demonstration over George Floyd death

Ducey did not detail which local leaders he had spoken with. The GOP governor has for weeks had scant communication with several of the state's Democratic mayors, including Romero and the mayors of Phoenix and Flagstaff, over COVID-19 measures.

Ducey announced Wednesday that he was meeting with mayors to discuss the state's CARES Act pandemic relief funding, but Romero's office was not aware of the meeting until asked about it by a reporter.

Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier said he spoke with Ducey on the phone after the order was issued.

"It is clear that the governor supports law enforcement and desires to provide us with another tool to address the unlawful and violent behavior we have experienced over the past couple of nights. We know as the night progresses the level of violence and criminality tends to escalate. The curfew should help to address this by making it unlawful to be out in public after 8 p.m.," the Republican sheriff said.

The order isn't intended to "prohibit lawful conduct and commerce," Napier said.

"The expression of outrage and anger over the death of George Floyd is understandable and shared by me. What we cannot allow is the expression of that outrage and anger to be demonstrated in unlawful and violent behavior. This is completely unacceptable," he said.

While the Republican governor issued a series of executive orders limiting business and public activities in response to the coronavirus pandemic, very few of those proclamations were directly enforced by police or other officials. Most of those restrictions have been lifted, but Ducey has continued to state that social distancing protocols should be followed.

Friday and Saturday in Tucson, hundreds of protesters confronted ranks of police, Downtown and along 4th Avenue to the University of Arizona.

Here, demonstrators also smashed windows, set fire to dumpsters, and tagged several buildings, including Tucson Police Department's headquarters, with graffiti. Friday night, several reporters were attacked by protesters, with at least two beaten and others having their gear snatched from their hands. Saturday, after a mostly peaceful march from Downtown to the UA, protesters were blocked by TPD from returning to where many had left their vehicles. That demonstration turned heated late at night, with a hardcore group of protesters among a largely peaceful crowd squaring off with police. As the confrontation grew, TPD used pepper balls and spray against the crowd.

Other protests turned chaotic in Phoenix and in Scottsdale, where there were reports of looting.

Earlier Sunday, Ducey praised police in Phoenix for keeping demonstrators away from the freeway system.

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"One thing is clear: The more aggressive approach downtown was needed, and it worked. Now, more needs to be done, in more places around the state, to protect law and order and public safety," he said.

"I will be speaking with mayors around the state throughout the day to ensure plans are in place to prevent this kind of lawlessness tonight and beyond. The state will provide whatever resources we can, through DPS, National Guard, and cross coordination of local law enforcement, but every community needs to be prepared," Ducey wrote. "What we are seeing is happening in cities and states everywhere in America, and Arizona leaders need to be on high alert. They need a plan. Today should be a working day for every local elected leader, city manager, police chief and sheriff in every jurisdiction in the state."

The death of George Floyd is tragic and abhorrent. It should be condemned by leaders at all levels ⁠— and we should listen to those who seek to have a civil dialogue on how to ensure it never happens again," Ducey said. "In Arizona, we will listen ⁠— and this was demonstrated by the leadership DPS Colonel Heston Silbert displayed on Thursday night as he engaged with protestors at the Capitol. This kind of leadership from law enforcement, working with community leaders, will get us through. But we cannot, and will not stand for violence, looting, and criminal activity."

Tucson leaders call for calm during 'painful week'

Romero was joined by local African American community leaders on Saturday, appealing for calm at protests.

During a press conference Saturday afternoon, Romero called this a "very painful week for our community, and for our country, on top of incredibly painful months." And, she called for people to listen to the city's African-American community.

"This week has tapped into a deep and generational pain rooted in a long history of iniquity and oppression," she said. Romero called the death of Floyd "heartbreaking," and said that Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus was correct when he tweeted Tuesday that the video showed an "indefensible use of force that good officers everywhere are appalled by."

"This is contrary to how professional police officers train and conduct themselves. Conduct like this anywhere makes it more difficult for police everywhere to build community trust," he wrote.

Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier issued a statement Friday condemning the officers in Minneapolis, saying that their conduct was "completely contrary to training and professional standards. Further, it is contrary to the basic standards of humanity."

"Conduct like this anywhere makes it more difficult for police everywhere to build community trust," Romero said. However, she was sharply critical of Friday's vandalism.

"Let's talk about last night," she said. "What I saw was not Tucson, and it's not going to be what moves us forward. Violence only brings violence." She said that harming locally owned "mom and pop businesses" who are already reeling from the outbreak of COVID-19 does nothing to "accomplish justice" for Floyd and instead, "only serves to divide our community."

This echoed her comments Friday night, where she tweeted: "Our hearts are hurting at the needless murder of yet another black HUMAN BEING. We're upset. Rightfully so," she wrote. "However, this does NOT justify harming small businesses that are already suffering during these difficult times."

"Please, honor the life of #GeorgeFloyd by demonstrating PEACEFULLY. Justice for George Floyd must be served. Causing property damage and inflicting harm on our fellow Tucsonans is not the way we accomplish this," she wrote.

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"Now is the time to listen and grieve alongside our black brothers and sisters as we mourn another senseless and disgusting act of violence," she said Saturday. "Please do not diminish and co-opt their peaceful demands and demonstrations for justice with more senseless acts of violence."

And, she praised Tucson police for "the professionalism and the restraint that our police officers showed last night in a very dangerous and volatile situation."

Romero was backed by four members of Tucson's African American community, who each called for peace and were sharply critical of Friday night's actions. They also said that the black community would hold a vigil at Dunbar Pavilion on Monday at 7 p.m.

Doris Snowden, president of NAACP Tucson, said she was "totally against the violence."

"But we have to pray, and be patient and recognize that change is a process," she said.

Zion Givens, a youth advocate, said that "what happened last night is unacceptable..

"If you look at the film and you look at who was actually looting and who was actually there," they weren't people that "look like me," he said. "They were not black."

"We know Mexicans and whites and Native Americans want to be a part of this revolution. We understand that, but going Downtown or breaking windows of local businesses, and breaking shops and looting in the name of Black people in the name of the Black race is not the way we want to be represented."

"We want to be heard, and in our own voice. If you want to be an ally and you want to help us you've got to do it the way we want it to be done. Any other way that goes against our Black communities another way another form of injustice and entitlement, and it's doing the black community more harm than good," Givens said.

Jamar Anthony with D.J.s Against Hunger said the problem between police and community starts with a lack of accountability, and he said that he spoke with Magnus, and praised Tucson's top cop for being one of the first people to criticize the actions of Chauvin and the other officers.

"That's what we've been praying for all these years, that we want the police to stand up and say this is wrong. And how do we reward the police for doing that last night? We hit them with stones and rocks," Anthony said. "This is not right and I as a member of the Black community, I will not stand by while people sit there and they use our pain too."

Magnus said that four people were arrested during the protest, including one person who was arrested on two felony counts of aggravated assault against a police officer, and three people who were arrested for obstructing a thoroughfare. Magnus said that about 175 officers were deployed downtown, including many officers who were "pulled" from other stations throughout the city, and they faced a crowd estimated at 350 to 400 people at its largest.

Magnus said there had been "extensive" vandalism, and estimated the cost "likely upwards" of $200,000 and that both businesses and residences had been damaged. Magnus also said that one patrol vehicle was damaged.

Magnus praised the efforts of his officers, noting that they had rocks, bottles, and firecrackers thrown at them, as well as "various fluids" and that during the protest shots were fired within 100 yards of the protest, and that multiple protesters were "openly armed."

Nationwide protests

Floyd's death has prompted a national outcry after video showed him pinned to the ground by four police officers, including one later identified as Derek Chauvin. In the video, Chauvin forces his knee into the man's neck for more than eight minutes, as the 46-year-old man pleads for his life, telling the officers "I can't breathe."

Floyd was unresponsive when paramedics arrived, and he was later pronounced dead.

Chauvin was charged with third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter, and all four officers have been fired. Hennepin County's prosecutor said that he "anticipates charges" for the other three officers.

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

Protesters in Downtown Tucson on Friday night.