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Thu, July 09

Local law enforcement weighs in on Gov. Doug Ducey’s curfew

Rusty Cooper

Rusty Cooper

KINGMAN – Gov. Doug Ducey has issued a statewide Declaration of Emergency that is paired with a weeklong curfew of 8 p.m. to 5 a.m., and while both agencies have urged the public to go about their business safely, neither the Kingman Police Department nor the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office will enforce the curfew for typical residents going about their business.

According to the Associated Press, 46-year-old George Floyd of Minneapolis, Minnesota was killed when an officer now charged with third degree murder and manslaughter, Derek Chauvin, 44, allegedly pressed his knee to Floyd’s neck for several minutes, ignoring the man’s pleas for air as he could not breathe.

Protests have popped up not only throughout the country but around the world, some of which have seen looting and the burning of vehicles and businesses.

“This gives law enforcement an additional tool to prevent the lawlessness we’ve seen here and in cities nationwide,” Ducey’s declaration reads. “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.”

The meat of Ducey’s declaration reads: “During the hours of curfew, 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 …”

The following exceptions apply: law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics and other medical personnel, National Guard, and other emergency response personnel along with credentialed members of the media. Additional exceptions include individuals traveling 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; and seeking medical care or fleeing dangerous circumstances.

Sheriff Doug Schuster issued a statement on the curfew on his agency’s Facebook page. First, he wrote: “It is clear that excessive and unreasonable force was used, and the officers involved should be held to the same level of criminal punishment that any United States citizen would receive in the same situation. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Floyd family.”

The sheriff also said that he supports protests, and will stand with them so long as they are held peacefully.

“In the event any protest crosses into criminal activity, swift and immediate action will be taken,” Schuster said. “No group has the right to riot, loot or cause injury or death in the name of self-proclaimed justice.”

The curfew will remain in effect from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. until Monday, June 8.

“I ask that all of our citizens be aware and take personal safety precautions,” the sheriff wrote. “Having said that, this order will not interfere with the otherwise legal movement of our citizens, regardless of time of day …”

Chief Rusty Cooper of the Kingman Police Department made an effort to explain in further detail what the declaration means for law enforcement.

“This has allowed law enforcement that are facing these peaceful protests that turn into criminal behavior/riots, it gives law enforcement the authority to disperse the group, that’s the intent behind that,” Cooper said of the declaration and associated curfew.

Cooper said KPD would make use of the declaration “if the need arises.”

“If there’s a gathering of people that becomes unruly or morphs into criminal behavior, we will take enforcement action,” the chief said. “Our hope is that people will cooperate with the order and understand the reason and intent behind it. This is not martial law; this is the governor’s efforts to gain control of a riotous situation that they’re being faced with in the Phoenix area.”

However, Cooper said law-abiding persons won’t have to worry about curfew enforcement. While the chief still recommended that people with no reason to be out past curfew stay home, he noted “what we would consider normal travel and movement is not restricted,” speaking to trips to the store, for food, to and from work, etc.

A protest against the Floyd killing is set for Tuesday, June 2, Friday, June 5 and Saturday, June 6, all at Locomotive Park, 310 W. Beale St. Cooper said KPD is aware of the events, as organizers have been in contact with the department. He said KPD will have a presence at the protest, and that it is also addressing less-than-peaceful comments being directed at organizers.

“We will take every effort to make this a peaceful event and we will aggressively deal with those who have other plans,” Cooper said. “We want everyone to be peaceful and respectful of each other’s right to be there.”

District 1 Supervisor Gary Watson made a statement on Monday, June 1 regarding the protest. He expressed his dismay over what happened to Floyd but said rioting and looting will not be tolerated.

“Protesters have a right to assemble peacefully,” he said, “but this bulldog will not stand and turn another cheek.”

Watson said he wished for the officers responsible for Floyd’s death to be punished, but said no Mohave County citizen should be harmed on the way.

“This bulldog will not stand and turn another cheek,” he said. “Don’t corner something that is meaner than you are.”

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