By Christopher Francis - email
PHOENIX (KOLD) - A live interview with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio ended early when protestors started singing and wouldn't stop.
The controversial sheriff was taking questions from three professors at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. The interview drew a standing-room only crowd inside the school's auditorium, while others watched on a big screen TV outside or live on the Internet.
Arpaio was responding to a question concerning allegations that he's targeting those who oppose his policies and his immigration sweeps, which have led to a Justice Department investigation. Arpaio called the conduct of government civil rights investigators unethical, adding, "My lawyers and I decided we will not deal with the Justice Department anymore."
At that point, protestors broke out in a song set to the tune of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody." And things turned a bit stranger: as the interviewers appealed to the crowd to let Sheriff Arpaio finish, he put on a hat featuring University of Arizona mascot Wilbur Wildcat. Unable to convince the protestors to stop, the journalists on stage ended the interview and walked off with Arpaio.
Journalism school dean Chris Callahan scolded the protestors' tactics, noting Arpaio was facing tough questions. "Wouldn't the result of that simply be the sheriff's message being sent out to voters and constituents unfiltered, without any challenge from the media?"
The first 45 minutes of the interview had taken place without interruptions, as Arpaio answered questions about his relationship with Phoenix-area media, lamenting that it didn't go more smoothly.
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