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Barred from Wearing Their Uniforms, Minneapolis Police Supporters Promise 'Sea of Red' at Trump Rally

President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at the Santa Ana Star Center, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in Rio Rancho, N.M. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)
President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign rally at the Santa Ana Star Center, Monday, Sept. 16, 2019, in Rio Rancho, N.M. (AP Photo/Andres Leighton)

The lead-up to President Donald Trump's big rally in Minneapolis, MN has been tumultuous after local officials took steps that sparked furious responses from the president and others who say the mayor was trying to limit Trump's impact.

If you watch President Trump's rally there on Thursday, look for Minneapolis police officers standing behind him. They'll be very easy to spot. They'll all be wearing red t-shirts instead of their uniforms due to a brand new department policy. 

So why are the police officers not wearing their uniforms? It all started after Trump announced he would hold the Minneapolis rally, his first campaign event since House Democrats announced an impeachment inquiry against him. The North Star state is expected to be a big battleground in the 2020 presidential campaign. A day after Trump announced the event, a new policy was handed down which bars off-duty police officers from wearing their uniforms to political events.

The head of the local police union immediately cried foul, saying it was a political move by Democrat city officials. 

Police spokesman John Elder told USA Today the new rule was put in place to prevent the department's officers from showing political bias and for the public from becoming "confused." 

"The uniform gets translated back to the average person as someone being from the police department," he said. "It's very confusing for people when they see someone in uniform to understand the difference between the city and the federation." 

But Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis told USA Today it's clear to him that politics are behind the rule change. 

After Trump's rally was announced, Mayor Jacob Frey released a statement in which he called the President's actions "reprehensible."

"Under ordinary circumstances, it would be an honor to welcome a sitting President of the United States to Minneapolis and to showcase all our city has to offer on the national stage," Frey said in the statement. "But these aren't ordinary circumstances. Since taking office President Trump's actions have been reprehensible and his rhetoric has made it clear that he does not value the perspectives or rights of Minneapolis' diverse communities."

Both Frey and Elder said police officials have been working on the rule change for months before Trump announced the Minneapolis rally.

Kroll said the timing of the rule change announcement was "very conspicuous."

So police officers who support the president will now wear t-shirts emblazoned with the slogan "Cops for Trump." The shirt features an American flag in the shape of Minnesota. All proceeds from the sale of the shirts will go toward the police union's charity. 

President Trump, a big supporter of law enforcement professionals, likes to feature local officers behind him at events. 

Trump tweeted about the shirts and wrote he wants to bring some back to Washington with him.

"Thank you to Lt. Bob Kroll of the great Minneapolis Police Department for your kind words on @foxandfriends. The Police are fighting the Radical Left Mayor and his ridiculous Uniform Ban. Actually, I LOVE the Cops for Trump shirts. Want to bring some home. I am with you 100%!!!!," the president tweeted.

Minneapolis city officials also had a few words with the Trump campaign on who was going to cover the costs of the President's rally at the Target Center. 

According to The Washington Post, city officials told the Target Center that it would be responsible for a whopping $530,000 security bill the city says it needs in order to provide security for Trump's visit. 

The arena then threatened to cancel the rally unless the Trump campaign paid the bill. This angered Trump's team which accused Mayor Frey of trying to stop the rally. It was only after the campaign threatened to sue the arena's owners that the bill was rescinded. 

According to The Post, campaign manager Brad Parscale wrote in an email to supporters. "The Target Center has backed off canceling the contract, which means President Trump's Keep America Great rally will go on as scheduled. Consistent with our original agreement with the venue, the Trump campaign has not agreed to pay any additional funds."

Trump tweeted, "Someone please tell the Radical Left Mayor of Minneapolis that he can't price out Free Speech. Probably illegal! I stand strongly & proudly with the great Police Officers and Law Enforcement of Minneapolis and the Great State of Minnesota! See you Thursday Night!

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