The social media influencer denied taking part in looting in a tweet on Sunday, saying he spent the day "doing our part to peaceful protest"

By Jodi Guglielmi
June 04, 2020 04:04 PM
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Jake Paul has run into some legal trouble.

The YouTuber is facing criminal charges after he was identified in a video of the looting of an Arizona mall amid protests that began in response to the killing of George Floyd over the weekend, PEOPLE has confirmed.

Paul, 23, was charged with criminal trespass and unlawful assembly, a spokesperson for the Scottsdale Police Department told PEOPLE. Both charges are misdemeanors.

"Following the riots and looting that occurred on the evening of May 30th 2020 at Scottsdale Fashion Square mall, the Scottsdale Police Department received hundreds of tips and videos identifying social media influencer, Jake Joseph Paul (23), as a participant in the riot," said the spokesperson. "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)."

Paul was issued a summons to appear in court next month.

A rep for Paul did not immediately return PEOPLE's request for comment.

The social media influencer denied taking part in looting in a tweet on Sunday, saying he spent the day "doing our part to peaceful protest."

"To be absolutely clear, neither I nor anyone in our group was engaged in any looting or vandalism," he wrote. "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."

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

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

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

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