Student protesters at Arizona State University silenced an Arizona sheriff known for his controversial tactics on illegal immigration today, bringing a premature end to a First Amendment forum by singing "Bohemian Rhapsody." During the forum, which was hosted by the university's journalism school, Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio was asked whether his office engages in racial profiling, according to the Associated Press. Arpaio said his agency is an "equal opportunity law enforcement agency" that will arrest anyone who violates the law. Later, when trying to answer a question about his policies on illegal immigration, a group of hecklers stood up and began singing the song. Their song clearly annoyed Arpaio, who called the spectacle "ridiculous." "This isn't the way journalists should operate," he said to the host. "Are they all students up there? Why were they allowed here if they're not students?" He later walked off the set. Arpaio, who calls himself "America's toughest sheriff," is controversial in part for encouraging his deputies to act as enforcers of immigration law -- a role that is typically left to the feds. Under the Obama administration, the federal government has stripped Arpaio of much of his authority, admonishing him for unfairly targeting Hispanics and removing the authority of his officers to make immigration arrests in the field. Arpaio nonetheless continues to pursue illegal immigrants.
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