YouTube star Jake Paul has been charged with trespassing after allegedly entering an Arizona mall while it was being looted.
According to the Scottsdale Police Department, the 23-year-old has been criminally charged with Criminal Trespass and Unlawful Assembly after an investigation determined he was in attendance at the “unlawful” event at the Scottsdale Fashion Square Mall.
“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,” the department’s statement read. “Paul also unlawfully entered and remained inside of the mall when it was closed.”
Police also said they “received hundreds of tips and videos identifying” Paul as “a participant in the riot.”
The charges came on the heels of Paul denying looting at the Scottsdale mall on May 30, despite being filmed inside while people were stealing from stores.
In now-deleted footage posted to Paul’s videographer Andrew Blue’s Instagram, the social media influencer is seen watching as rioters break into the mall. The looting took place as scores of anti-police brutality riots erupted nationwide following the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while in white police custody.
Paul later appears in a video that captures him walking inside the mall as looters appear in the background with handfuls of merchandise.
Paul is not seen stealing in any of the videos.
The YouTube personality, who boasts more than 20 million subscribers on the channel, acknowledged his charges on Twitter on June 4 and said he wants to return the focus back to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Paul Denies Looting, Says he Was There for a ‘Peaceful Protest’
Paul, whose estimated worth is roughly $11 million, posted a lengthy explanation on Twitter earlier this week saying he was “documenting” a peaceful protest for his channel.
The Los Angeles resident added that he was trying to raise awareness and did not partake in any vandalism.
“For context, we spent the day doing our part to peacefully protest one of the most horrific injustices our country has ever seen,” he wrote. “I do not condone violence, looting, or breaking the law; however, I understand the anger and frustration that led to the destruction.”
Scottsdale police said “millions of dollars in damages and theft occurred during the late-night spasm of violence.” The Phoenix chapter of Black Lives Matter put out a statement saying it was not involved with the incident and expressed concern for the safety of the participants.
Paul was also seen laughing during several incidents.
The videos prompted of a wave of online criticism.
While there is no video evidence that the star stole anything, a petition calling for Paul’s arrest had amassed nearly 30,000 signatures as of Thursday morning.
Paul is no Stranger to Controversy
This isn’t Paul’s first run-in with public criticism — despite skirting much of the backlash courted by his older brother, Logan, over the years. The Paul brothers have long-been accused of capitalizing on sensitive news stories to create content.
Paul recently admitted that his brief supposed marriage to YouTube star Tana Mongeau last year was fake, according to Entertainment Tonight, after speculation the nuptials were a publicity stunt.
He also ruffled feathers earlier this year when he alleged that he and former One Direction member Zayn Malik had a tense interaction in Las Vegas. Malik’s model girlfriend, Gigi Hadid, took to Twitter to defend her boyfriend, calling Paul “irrelevant.”