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Trump Phoenix visit not yet confirmed, but law enforcement is preparing

(Flickr/Gage Skidmore)

PHOENIX – Arizona law enforcement officials are bracing themselves for a visit from President Donald Trump, but the event hasn’t yet been confirmed, Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone said Tuesday.

Trump reportedly has been looking for a location to hold a rally in Phoenix in recent weeks. His camp has asked about using Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum later this month, but no date was set

Hurricane Florence might alter Trump’s attempt to come to Phoenix. With Florence threatening to wreak havoc on the continent in the coming days, the president canceled rallies scheduled this week in Missouri and Mississippi.

Regardless, local law enforcement will have a plan.

“I know that (Phoenix Police) Chief Williams has spoken with other municipalities and law enforcement agencies,” Penzone told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Mac and Gaydos on Tuesday.

Penzone said his department would provide support wherever it’s needed.

“Sometimes we have teams that are on standby, in case there’s an escalation of force and we have to have deputies out there prepared to face that along with their colleagues in other agencies,” he said.

“We’re responsible for the jails, which means we have to be prepared for mass arrests.”

Penzone issued a challenge to demonstrators to keep protesters on their own sides from behaving in a destructive manner.

“If you see individuals who are posing as though they are part of your voice but behaving in a way that is not consistent with your values or beliefs in a safe way, the most powerful thing you can do is to stand and speak against them or to call on law enforcement to remove them,” he said.

“Don’t let them misrepresent who you are and create a problem that then adversely affects you or your family.”

Former Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer told Mac and Gaydos on Wednesday that she thinks Trump will visit Phoenix by the end of the month.

“I know that he’s not going to be here by the 18th, the 19th or the 20th, but I hope that he gets here by the end of the month,” she said.

“We are all looking forward to it. White House and company, they’re working on this. As far as the date set in stone, I don’t have that date, but I think he’ll be here by the end of September.”

Trump last appeared in Phoenix a year ago.

After his Aug. 22, 2017, rally at the Phoenix Convention Center, Phoenix Police used tear gas and pepper spray to disburse protesters. Police said they were responding to bottles and rocks being thrown at them.

Last week, the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona filed a class-action lawsuit against the city for the police department’s actions that night.

The lawsuit on behalf of four individuals and two community organizations alleged that protesters had their First Amendment rights violated by police.

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