Sheriffs Once Again Defy Governor’s Order for Arizonans to Stay Home

Photo by Markus Winkler

By Alicia Barrón

June 3, 2020

Arizona is on lockdown after days of protests over the police killing of George Floyd swept through the state.

A mandatory, statewide curfew was put in place last Sunday, but like Gov. Doug Ducey’s stay-at-home order, many law enforcement officers have once again announced they will not be enforcing the new rule.

Ducey initially gave few details when he announced a statewide curfew on May 31 that would go into effect at 8 p.m. every night through June 8.

Arizonans are being asked to stay home every night between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. effective during the weeklong curfew. Those who choose to test their luck during the curfew face up to six months in jail and a $2,500 fine.  

As the governor’s Declaration of State Emergency “Imposition of Curfew” explicitly outlines in his press release, “residents 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.” 

Exceptions include all law enforcement and emergency services officers, medical workers, delivery services, and credentialed members of the media. 

Ducey added in the press release that the order, “gives law enforcement an additional tool to prevent the lawlessness we’ve seen here and in cities nationwide. Police will be equipped to make arrests of individuals who are planning to riot, loot or cause damage and unrest.”

But local leaders of Phoenix, Tucson, and Scottsdale – where the largest rallies were held – have said they were not consulted on the decision to institute a statewide curfew.

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero was quick to react by saying neither she nor Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus had been notified of the planned curfew. Magnus said officers would focus their curfew enforcement on people engaging in criminal acts.

Thomas McCauley, mayor of Winslow, announced they would not have their rights or way of life compromised by a “one size fits all” regulation.”

Magnus isn’t the only law enforcement leader who has decided not to make the order a priority. Here’s how different officials responded to the weeklong curfew.

Santa Cruz County

In Santa Cruz County, Sheriff Tony Estrada said enforcing the curfew was not a high priority. He said the order had been put in place mainly to control the protests happening in bigger cities like Phoenix and Tucson, and wasn’t necessary in towns within his jurisdiction.

Navajo County

Similar to Magnus’ decision to focus on criminal activity, the Navajo County Sheriff’s Office made it clear that as long as residents are not engaging in illegal activity after 8 p.m., they “have no reason to worry.”

Cochise County

Cochise County officials offered their own interpretation of the order, claiming that it only applied to unlawful activities. Cochise County Sheriff Mark J. Dennels made it clear that they will allow businesses to remain open and permit residents to be outside after 8 p.m.
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