From Sandy Adler/Scottsdale, Arizona
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey today instituted a curfew from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. across the state of Arizona for the next week. Last night (June 30), there were protesters in downtown Phoenix for the second night in a row. From what I saw on the news, most people were marching and carrying signs. There was some destruction of property and the police in Phoenix seemed to have handled the crowd as well as possible except for some people who really got out of hand with destruction of property. The crowd seemed to be a mix of all ages and all races.
The really surprising story is what happened in downtown Scottsdale the same night. There seemed to be very little protesting and just mainly destruction of property. It was mostly young people (the news said teens and young adults). They broke into the Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall and you could see looters running out of the mall with clothing and other items. They broke into the Apple store where most of the store was put away, but you could see some of the intruders damaging the store displays. Many other stores were damaged. There is a Mercedes dealership just across from the mall and giant windows were broken and you could see people inside the showroom. I have heard that the destruction in downtown Scottsdale was in the millions of dollars. Only a dozen people were arrested.
I understand protest and I certainly think it is warranted in our country right now. We have the First Amendment right to protest, but I don't believe there is right to trash private property. The mall is closed today. It was just starting to open up after shelter-in-place orders have been lifting here. People were going back to work in those stores. Those retail businesses and their employees have already been negatively impacted by the pandemic.
I can't help but think back to the Detroit riots in 1967 when I was 14 years old. It is so depressing that 50 years later, we are still doing the same thing and battling the same inequities in our culture. It has unquestionably gotten worse in the past few years but it wasn't great before then. I worry for my family members who are African American. I worry for my family members who are Jewish. I worry for my friends who are Muslim. I worry for my friends who are Dreamers and their parents who are sometimes afraid to go out and get caught by ICE even though they work and pay taxes. I continue to hope for a kinder, gentler country. And, unquestionably, we need better leadership to get there.
From Anita Newman/Scottsdale, Arizona
We got this very ominous email from our building’s board of directors late in the afternoon, a couple of days ago. It was the afternoon after the riot, or looting, or demonstration, or protest at the big Scottsdale mall, Fashion Square. That’s where there were protests, and it became looting and breaking windows and et cetera. So the next day, they were concerned. I guess on social media, somebody told me they were targeting malls. It seems to be different groups of people. I think when it first started, they really didn’t know who was who. So we got this ominous email telling us what to do in the event of an emergency, possibly a fire. They were worried about fires, because we are in a mall, and there are shops below us on one side of my building. They were concerned that people would be breaking in, or there would be fires, and that obviously would affect our building. So they went into great detail about what to do if there were a fire.
So when I got this email, I went downstairs to the lobby. And the concierge, the person who usually sits there, was gone. There was the property manager of the mall, and they were papering the doors and the windows, so that people couldn’t see in. I was talking to him, and asking him what was going on. He said, there are two police officers parked in every entrance to the mall at night. All the stores were closed. There’s an entrance right near my building, and I saw the police officers. Everybody was very nervous that night, They said, don’t forget your ID. If we have to evacuate the building, we are going to meet in the parking lot. There were protests that night, but not here.
That first night, I got a call from a friend who lives in a fancy neighborhood. She was getting alerts and phone calls from the police all night long. She was very concerned; she was texting me all night. She said, “I have glass windows.’ She said she was packing a bag, just in case. It made everybody nervous, including me. It was not good. Since that night, they have been posting police officers, and are on high alert.
There have been protests, but not a lot of people, not what is going on in New York City. There has been a statewide 8 p.m. curfew for a week. It has been quiet since the first night with peaceful protests taking place.
I believe in peaceful protests. People have every right to exercise their First Amendment rights. But I don’t condone violence or the destruction of property. I hope that the protests will spur more political action.