County bans weapons near border wall prototypes

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Construction began Tuesday in Otay Mesa on prototypes for President Trump’s border wall.

SAN DIEGO — The San Diego County Board of Supervisors Tuesday banned items that could be used as weapons, such as baseball bats, knives and rocks, in certain areas where border wall prototypes will be built.

With an expectation for protests and demonstrations in response to the border wall construction, county officials unanimously approved the urgency ordinance, which takes effect immediately. The action gives law enforcement the authority to issue misdemeanor citations to those who bring items that could be perceived as weapons to areas authorities deem to face credible threat for violent demonstrations.

“We need to make sure our law enforcement agencies have the tools they need to protect the people and keep the peace,” county Supervisor Dianne Jacob said.

“This is a divisive time in our nation’s history and frankly, we already have a border fence in San Diego, so I’m not sure why we were targeted to build the prototypes, but it is what it is today,” Jacob added.

Supervisor Greg Cox said it is important for the county to take precautionary measures since the federal government is moving forward with the “demonstration project.”

President Donald Trump’s push, via an executive order, for “immediate construction of a physical wall,” some portions of which would fall within county lines, has prompted an array of reaction from county and city officials in a region with about 170,000 residents living in the country illegally.

The San Diego City Council passed a resolution last week expressing the city’s intent to divest from companies involved in the construction, financing and/or design of the wall.

With construction of wall prototypes nearing, county officials agreed law enforcement needed more authority to keep expected protests peaceful. Prior to restricting any area to the public, though, the county will issue a public notice at least 24 hours in advance.

“We support the right to peacefully protest, but there is no need to bring weapons,” said Ron Lane, the county’s deputy chief administrative officer.