Posted: Tuesday, August 15, 2017 – 3:49 PM
(CNS) – Laguna Beach police Tuesday sought to reassure the public that officers have adequately planned for a “America First” demonstration and expected counter-demonstration scheduled this weekend.
The Sunday event is titled “America First! Electric Vigil for the Victims of Illegals and Refugees.” The event description on Facebook says, “We will be gathering once again to remind America of the victims who have suffered and died unnecessarily for the greedy cheap labor schemes of the elite.”
Johnny Benitez, the demonstration’s organizer, has done about four others in the city in the past several months, and there have been no issues at any of the other gatherings, said Laguna Beach police Sgt. Jim Cota.
Benitez has told police he is not affiliated with any organization like the Make America Great Again groups.
“He says he’s on his own,” Cota said.
About 80 people showed up at the most recent demonstration on July 30, Cota said. And despite the deadly uprising in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, Laguna Beach police feel fully prepared to deal with whatever happens at their demonstration, he said.
“We’re ready for this. They can bring out the whole world and we’ll be ready for them,” the sergeant said.
“We have a lot of experience out there,” Cota said of officers who handle crowd control. “A majority of the people working on this are very tenured, so we know how to deal with them. We’ve been having meetings daily and our chief is very proactive.”
Another Facebook user has a counter-demonstration planned, prompting Benitez to rally his supporters to come to the event on Broadway and Pacific Coast Highway at 6 p.m. Sunday.