Jake Paul issued a statement on Sunday, claiming that he and his friends did not take part in the looting

By Claudia Harmata
May 31, 2020 02:30 PM
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Credit: Jim Spellman/WireImage

Jake Paul has released a statement in response to backlash after he was identified in a video of the looting of an Arizona mall amid protests in response to the killing of George Floyd.

"To be absolutely clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism," the YouTuber, 23, shared on Sunday. "For context, we spent the day doing our part to peaceful protest one of the most horrific injustices our country has ever seen, which led to us 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," he continued.

"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 said. "We are all doing the best we can to be helpful and raise awareness; this is not the time to attack each other, it’s time to join together and evolve."

On Saturday, Paul had participated in the protests erupting across the United States over the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died after a white police officer pinned him to the ground with a knee on his neck in Minneapolis.

Paul documented the demonstration on his Instagram Story, claiming that he had been tear-gassed and that his eyes were "bleeding."

However, he was later identified in a separate video watching looters vandalizing a P.F. Chang's restaurant at the Fashion Square mall in Scottsdale, Arizona. Paul was later seen walking inside the mall as more looting took place.

The social media star was not seen causing any damage in the video, however many people on Twitter called him out for being around the raid.

The protests began earlier in the week in Minneapolis after footage surfaced online of Floyd and Derek Chauvin, the officer involved in the incident. Chauvin has been fired from his post and was charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter on Friday.

The protests have carried on to some 30 major U.S cities like Los Angeles, New York, Chicago and Atlanta.