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Arpaio visit to ASU cut short by singing protesters

• AZ Republic
An appearance by Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio at Arizona State University's Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication was cut short Monday night when a group of protestors broke into song.

During a public "Meet-the-Press" style interview that began at 7 p.m. in the First Amendment Forum, Arpaio fielded questions from a panel of journalism professors.

The event was preceded by a gathering of more than 100 protestors who chanted and held signs that read "Stop Arpaio" and others that read "We support Sheriff Arpaio." OAS_AD('ArticleFlex_1')

"I don't agree with a lot of what he is doing and he tries to avoid any questioning," said Christina McDonald, a Cronkite student. "Tonight he was doing the same thing and he wouldn't answer questions directly."

Cronkite Dean Christopher Callahan prefaced the panel interview by pointing out these types of events are to show that the press has a responsibility to "hold people accountable."

The professors asked Arpaio about his relationship with the media and whether he believes his office grants everyone access to information.

"The people have a right to know what I'm doing," Arpaio said. "I'm not afraid to face the media, no matter what the subject is."

The panel questioned Arpaio about free press and First Amendment rights for 45 minutes and began to ask about other issues, including racial profiling, when protestors in the room began to sing.

Without another word, Arpaio took off his microphone and was escorted from the building, and Callahan addressed the protestors and the students.

"I understand your passion about this issue," Callahan said. "It just seems to me, misplaced."

Some students agreed and said the protestors should not have interrupted.

"I felt that the protestors were really out of place by not allowing the journalists to finish questioning him," said Gabrielle Abrams, a Cronkite student. "In protesting Arpaio, they helped him out by letting him leave 20 minutes early."


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