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Muhammad Ali Cops Protecting Funeral Home

6/7/2016 11:26 AM PDT

Muhammad Ali -- Cops Protecting Funeral Home (PHOTOS)

EXCLUSIVE

The funeral home where Muhammad Ali's body is being kept before his funeral on Friday is being protected by a team of local law enforcement officers ... TMZ Sports has learned. 

Witnesses in Louisville, Kentucky spotted several squad cars at A.D. Porter & Sons Tuesday morning -- including a Jefferson County Sheriff SUV and two Louisville Metro PD cars. 

A rep for the LMPD tells us their officers are working in an off-duty capacity. 

We also spoke with the funeral home and a staffer told us the cops are there for two reasons -- crowd control and also to protect Muhammad's body. 

The funeral is set for Friday and will probably be a massive event -- with huge stars, world leaders and scores of fans expected to attend. 

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