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Arizona cities refuse to enforce statewide curfew

Volunteers help sweep up broken glass from the vandalism damage at Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall Sunday, May 31, in Scottsdale, Ariz., following a night of unrest and protests over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in police custody with much of the arrest captured on video of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of Floyd. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

Volunteers help sweep up broken glass from the vandalism damage at Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall Sunday, May 31, in Scottsdale, Ariz., following a night of unrest and protests over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed black man who died in police custody with much of the arrest captured on video of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of Floyd. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

A dozen or so Arizona cities and counties have no intention to enforce Gov. Doug Ducey’s statewide curfew he declared on May 31. 

At least four county sheriffs so far have publicly stated they think the curfew is unnecessary or does not affect their area.

Sheriffs in Yuma County, Navajo County, Greenlee County and Santa Cruz County were among those who essentially said no. 

“The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office will not be enforcing the Curfew Order unless there is a need to enforce it, such as the event of a riot,” Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot said in a written statement. 

Yuma was one of the rural cities Ducey pointed to as those he spoke with before declaring the statewide curfew that will take place every night between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. until June 8, though it may also be extended. 

However, a spokeswoman for Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls said that isn’t true.

“Mayor Nicholls was not in any discussion with the Governor’s Office prior to the announcement of the emergency declaration,” said spokeswoman Lucy Valencia. 

Sierra Vista was another city he apparently talked to, but Mayor Rick Mueller said his city has not seen riots or violent protests and that the police department does not expect to need to use the curfew. 

The city’s police chief added that protests have been peaceful and respectful so far. 

“We will show citizens the same respect in carrying out this order by emphasizing education on the state’s guidance, unless enforcement is called for to protect safety or property,” SVPD Chief Adam Thrasher said. 

In Ducey’s Sunday afternoon announcement, he credited “local leaders” in helping him make that decision, but neither he nor anybody on his staff has revealed who those leaders were,

Phoenix, Tucson and Scottsdale are the only three cities to see damage from riots and “looting” over four nights of protests, but all three mayors have said they did not talk to the governor before the announcement and they did not request the curfew.

The call for a curfew appears to have come from a handful of East Valley cities that feared the kind of looting they saw at Scottsdale Fashion Square would hit their cities next.

A spokesman for the City of Chandler said Mayor Kevin Hartke along with mayors from Gilbert, Mesa and Tempe all expressed interest in a regional curfew if there was not a statewide mandate. 

“There was some discussion amongst the four cities that there was an interest and they relayed that to the Governor’s Office,” Chandler spokesman Matt Burdick said. 

He said that Chandler has not seen any violence over the past four nights of protests across the state, but this was more of a preventative measure.

Mesa Mayor John Giles, who was on that call around noon on May 31 (roughly an hour before the announcement), said in a statement he did not request the curfew, but does support it. 

Ducey didn’t give so much as a heads-up to the Democratic mayors of cities that actually had mass protests, Phoenix and Tucson, which has almost become par for the course over the past several months. 

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said she hasn’t spoken to Ducey in months and Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said she found out about the curfew from the governor’s tweet.

Ducey’s staff has said the curfew is not designed to be enforced against law abiding citizens, but to be used as a tool for law enforcement “to prevent the lawlessness we’ve seen here and in cities nationwide.” 

But since the “lawlessness” the governor describes has only happened in three major cities, others won’t comply. 

Greenlee County Sheriff Tim Sumner said his county, with the smallest population in the state, will not be enforcing the curfew. 

“As the Sheriff, I advised my deputies and staff we would not be enforcing the Covid 19 Orders and now we will not be enforcing this Curfew Order, as again, it is not a law,” Sumner said.

The Holbrook Police Department announced on Sunday that since there had been no protests or riots in Holbrook, the city would also not enforce the curfew. 

“We feel that enforcing a curfew would have a negative effect upon our city,” the department said in a statement. 

The City of Winslow also said it would not enforce the curfew on its residents. 

“We are neither Minneapolis nor Phoenix. We are Winslow, and we will not have our rights and our way of life in Winslow compromised by a ‘one size fits all’ regulation such as this latest order,” Winslow Mayor Thomas McCauley said in a statement.

But some counties of course will comply.

Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier, after speaking to Ducey, said the curfew should help address the high level of violence.

7 comments

  1. Our RINO has no legal authority to order a curfew. Where in the Constitution does it give a governor the right to restrict my movement.

  2. What is very obvious, but seems to elude the press, mayors, city councils, etc., is setting a statewide curfew gives city leaders across the state the ability to quickly stop rioting IF it does begin to take place in their own backyard.

    How can anyone not see this as an asset? Oh…. I get it. If it’s not happening to you then it’s not real. Just like Covid-19. Until it directly touches your life it isn’t your concern.

    Wake up Arizona.

  3. MARYANN GAGLIANO

    I do not understand the article. Are we under a curfew law in Mesa Arizona or not?

  4. For those who believe the government doesn’t have legal authority to impose a curfew. Guess again. They absolutely do and they have used it in the past to quell riots in the 60s. Maybe do a little research before making a comment…

    https://www.mtsu.edu/first-amendment/article/1206/curfews

  5. Winslow just had a major spike in covid, those folks have big issues before them.
    The rest of AZ is wonderfully Independant and I am proud of those who go in to the streets to tell the world and our “leaders” we are not happy with this horse manure, and as a member of the white community I want my black brethren to know I stand with them and this oppression and murderous hostility towards ANYONE of color or otherwise is not OK !
    His name was George Floyd, and the last 9 minutes of his lfe will guide me thru the rest of my life.

  6. WJ needs a little more research to be done on her part. First of all the link you posted goes to an article about curfews and that is subject to the writer’s opinion. Never once in the article does it actually state any laws that are written, but to the contrary, it states that curfews cannot stop people from doing first amendment protected activities such as having a protest. A blanket statewide curfew only hurts law-abiding citizens by placing fear into them that they can’t leave the house.

  7. This is a waste a curfew will n

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