On May 30, Scottsdale fell under attack. It was premeditated and without provocation.
The so-called leaders of this attack openly called to go after the “white people community,” in this case, Fashion Square Mall. It was not a peaceful demonstration to protest the death of George Floyd by the hands of a policeman in Minnesota, but an excuse to let out pent up anger by destroying property and stealing.
They were armed with rocks, bricks, bats, rifles and sidearms. Their numbers doubled the police that were there to protect us. This riot could have gotten out of hand quick. It could have escalated into fighting, gunfire, fires, injury and even death.
Our police handled the situation by containing them within an area and minimizing damage while keeping this mob from harming themselves, the police and our citizens.
Now that the aftermath is known and reported, people have either become afraid, angry, or both. The idea that any mob at any time can come into our city and wreak havoc is unnerving and most look to our public safety to protect us.
While that is what I believe our police did, there was a comment made that has caused even more controversy about what the police’s role is in these situations.
The comment was that the police are not here to protect private property but to save lives. How can we reconcile that? This riot was at the edge of Old Town, an enclave of over 200 small businesses whose lives depend on their shops.
That is their living. That is their life. Many have been there over 30 years. To hear that the police won’t be there to protect their property sends a chill down their spine and an anger that I hear over and over.
“Should we arm ourselves?” “If the police won’t protect my business, I will.” “Do I have to shut down my business?” “Board up the windows?” “Live in fear?”
I don’t know where that policy came from. Whether it’s a social mandate from a liberal court, or a sign of the nanny state to allow those to vent their anger and frustration at the expense of others because “its only things, it really doesn’t matter,” or even that we allow it because we somehow deserve it?
I can only speculate. What matters is that as a municipality we cannot allow that policy to continue. We have to let our businesses and our families know that your property, your home, your business, is respected and we will protect your interests as a valuable part of our community.
Scottsdale’s revenue relies on small business. Small business needs to rely on us to protect them.
If the choice is life or property we will choose life, but to sacrifice property as an alternative to standing up to thugs and violence is not acceptable. Not to me, not to our businesses, and not to our homes and family.
On June 16, at the council meeting I will ask council to instruct the city manager and our police chief to investigate procedure and best practices and come back with an acceptable policy that protects you and your property. If we don’t, we do not have safety.
I have consistently said that public safety is my No. 1 priority and I will continue to fight for that right for all residents and businesses in Scottsdale.
Editor’s Note: Guy Phillips is a Scottsdale City Councilman currently running for re-election in the Aug. 4 primary election.