Tempe police are reviewing an unauthorized, faith-based concert staged at Tempe Beach Park on Nov. 1 and the city prosecutor could charge the organizer and hold him responsible for costs of city services rendered, a Tempe spokeswoman said.
The city suspects that organizer Sean Feucht, who bills himself as a missionary, artist, speaker, author, activist and founder of multiple worldwide movements, may have violated a Tempe COVID-19 proclamation as well as city code and Gov. Doug Ducey’s Executive Order related to gatherings of 50 or more people during the pandemic, the spokeswoman said.
Tempe claims that Feucht did not request or receive city permission to hold the concert, which included use of a stage and amplified sound. An estimated 2,000 people attended.
Feucht could face charges on suspicion of:
- Violation of the City of Tempe June 18, 2020, Mayoral Proclamation that mandates the wearing of face coverings under specific circumstances.
- Violation of the Governor’s Executive Orders 2020-52 and 2020-43.
- Violation of Section 5-2 of Tempe City Code for not obtaining a city special events permit.
- Violation of Section 23-37 and Section 23-46 of Tempe City Code for driving a vehicle in a city park and for using sound amplification equipment without a permit, respectively.
Feucht, of Redding, Calif., has not responded to requests for comment from Wrangler News.
A Tempe Police Dept. field-operations report is being completed. A detective in the Criminal Investigations Bureau will review the report and then send it to the city prosecutor for determination of any legal action.
If the city prosecutor moves forward on specific charges, that information also would be forwarded to the Arizona Department of Health Services for its review, according to Tempe spokeswoman Nikki Ripley.
Tempe is expected to take action to collect costs incurred at the unpermitted gathering so that Tempe residents do not bear them. Calculations for hard costs and staff time for monitoring and cleanup are ongoing. Tempe Police Department, Fire Medical Rescue and Tempe Community Services staff were dispatched to Tempe Beach Park to provide trash receptacles, ensure that that gathering was a peaceful and that city park assets were not harmed.
The city became aware on Oct. 22 that Feucht was planning the faith-based concert at Beach Park. It was among a handful of stops on a national tour that included Las Vegas, New Orleans and Los Angeles, according to Feucht’s website.
Ripley said that Tempe staff attempted to get concert organizers to work with the city and seek a permit. Those attempts were not successful.
Video from the concert shows uniformed police officers onstage, however they were not Tempe police officers and no on-duty Tempe employees took part in event activities, according to Ripley.
Feucht’s website bills the concert as worship related, an activity defined as essential by Arizona and protected by the U.S. Constitution.
However, the Governor’s Executive Orders prohibits gatherings of 50 or more without approval by a city or town during the COVID-19 pandemic, with certain exceptions. AZDHS recommends physical distancing even for constitutionally protected events, such as religious gatherings.
According to Feucht’s website, his Burn 24-7 is a global worship and prayer movement launched out of his dorm room while in college, now spanning six continents and more than 250 cities. His Light A Candle is a global mission and compassion movement, bringing light, hope, healing and tangible love to the hardest, darkest and some of the most isolated places of the earth, the website says. His Hold the Line is a political-activist movement seeking to rally the global church to engage in civic duty to vote and stand up for causes of righteousness and justice in the governmental arena.
Feucht ran as a Republican in California’s 3rd Congressional District and lost in the March 3 primary this year. His socially conservative agenda opposed high taxes, criticized abortion as “the slaughter of the unborn and the newborn,” and decried homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in California. He wanted to give parents more rights regarding mandatory vaccination and sex education.
Ripley said Tempe believes that special events, even larger-scale events, can be held with careful planning and execution during the COVID-19 pandemic, but only if organizers work with the city and within reasonable timelines to ensure safety.
While Tempe made no attempt to shut down Feucht’s concert, future events that require a permit but proceed without one, including those using electronically amplified sound, will be stopped while in progress by Tempe Police, she said.