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Prescott-area mayors offer support of Gov. Ducey’s imposed curfew amid state, national protests

Protestors line the sidewalks outside the Prescott Valley Police Department on Saturday, May 30, 2020. (Courtesy)

Protestors line the sidewalks outside the Prescott Valley Police Department on Saturday, May 30, 2020. (Courtesy)

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been updated to reflect an expanded statement from Chino Valley Mayor Darryl Croft.

Prescott Mayor Greg Mengarelli and Prescott Valley Mayor Kell Palguta offered their support for Gov. Doug Ducey’s declaration of a state of emergency and imposition of curfew Sunday afternoon.

“We stand with the governor and all of our leaders when we say that the death of George Floyd was tragic and abhorrent. We are prepared to listen to those who seek to have a civil dialogue to ensure it never happens again,” Mengarelli said via an email statement.

“I want to urge calm, restraint and understanding at this time,” Mengarelli continued. “We live and work in a wonderful community where we have a tradition of peaceful public expression. Thankfully, we have not had any incidents of violence related to this matter. Our law enforcement officers are committed to maintaining peace and public safety.”

Protests across the nation have erupted in recent days after an unarmed black man died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on May 25.

Four Minneapolis officers were fired after George Floyd died in their custody.

Former officer Derek Chauvin, the man who put his knee on Floyd’s neck during the arrest for 8 minutes and 46 seconds in total, was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

Gov. Ducey issued a curfew beginning at 8 p.m. Sunday. It is scheduled to go on for the next week.

Prescott Valley Mayor Kell Palguta told the Courier in a phone interview Sunday that everyone needs to understand that for law-abiding citizens, “this changes nothing on their daily activity.”

“This [curfew] gives officers a tool to make an arrest. It gives law enforcement a chance to protect our community. We support the governor as we have throughout, and we want our community safe and this is an opportunity to do that,” Palguta said, adding the No. 1 priority is the safety of “our citizens, our police officers and first responders.”

Chino Valley Mayor Darryl Croft said in a statement Monday afternoon that “it pains us all to see the unrest around the state of Arizona and our nation.”

“Gov. Doug Ducey’s emergency declaration is, as he stated, ‘an additional tool to prevent the lawlessness we’ve seen here and in cities nationwide.’ We trust that our citizens will work together and with our local law enforcement to maintain peace in our town and protect the freedoms we all hold dear,” Croft said. “The ideas and beliefs that we share, love of neighbor and respect for community, are what brought us to our town and why we stay. I fully believe that our local leadership, our police department, our business community, and our citizens will follow the direction of the governor’s order and that we will become a stronger community by working together and supporting each other.

“Stay safe Chino Valley, stay strong and be good neighbors,” he added.

CURFEW HOURS

During the hours of curfew, which are 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. beginning Sunday, May 31, and ending Monday, June 8, 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, with the following exemptions:

• All law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics or other medical personnel, National Guard, as well as any other emergency response personnel authorized by the State of Arizona, and credentialed members of the media.

• Individuals traveling directly 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; seeking medical care or fleeing dangerous circumstances; and travel for any of the above services.

• For purposes of this order, “travel” includes, without limitation, travel on foot, bicycle, skateboard, scooter, motorcycle, automobile, or public transit, or any other mode of transporting a person from one location to another.

• For purposes of this order, “public place” means any place, whether on privately or publicly owned property, accessible to the general public, including but not limited to public streets and roads, alleys, highways, driveways, sidewalks, parks, vacant lots, and unsupervised property.

• Regarding a “public place” this includes private commercial property like shopping center parking lots, vacant lots, or other businesses generally opened to the public. This does not preclude legitimate operations of lawful businesses.

• For purposes of this order, “exempt care” means necessary medical services for an individual’s self or family member.

Violation of this order is a Class 1 misdemeanor pursuant to A.R.S. § 26-317 and is punishable by up to 6 months in jail and a fine of $2,500 in addition to any other violation under Title 13.

Follow Brian M. Bergner Jr. on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and SoundCloud at @TheEditorDesk. Email him at bbergner@prescottaz.com, or call 928-445-3333, ext. 1106.

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