Prince Mourners Outraged by Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Insensitive Tweets

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio caught heat on Friday after his insensitive tweets about Prince, who died on April 21, 2016, at age 57.EXPAND
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio caught heat on Friday after his insensitive tweets about Prince, who died on April 21, 2016, at age 57.
Yves Lorson

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio is taking some heat this afternoon by social-media users who think he went way too far in mentioning drug use by musician Prince, who died on Thursday at age 57.

Arpaio's known for making politically incorrect remarks and discriminating against Latinos, but he's even ticked off supporters with his premature criticism as music lovers still mourn. The six-term, mostly computer-illiterate sheriff probably didn't thumb-type the tweets himself, but likely dictated them to an aide.

However it was produced, Arpaio's first tweet about Prince was plain wrong: He said that Prince allegedly died of a drug overdose. But there are no official details out yet on the cause of death. An autopsy is underway this afternoon on the music legend's body, according to ABC News.

"Condolences to family of Prince who allegedly died of overdose," Arpaio tweeted. "Just celebrated 20 yrs of drug rehab in my jails. Drugs destroying our nation."

That tweet was deleted and replaced with one that reads, "Condolences to Prince family. He allegedly was treated for a drug overdose days ago. I celebrated 20 yrs of drug rehab in my jails today."

He followed it with "Drugs are killing our nation!"

The Internet, which was been full of Prince love for the last 24 hours, hasn't been kind to the pompous politician, and many of the latest response tweets refer to what people might say about Arpaio after his own inevitable demise. Few of the comments avoided the use of profanity.

"What the hell is wrong with you?" tweeted Steven White. "Sounds like your family is fucked up."

"Joe proving he's an asshole, still," tweeted "Alyx."

And so on.

Prince Mourners Outraged by Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio's Insensitive Tweets (2)

Not surprisingly, Arpaio's tweets don't tell the truth about his own jail system, or at least not the whole truth.

One tweet refers to a celebration he held yesterday at the jail in commemoration of the 20th anniversary of the ALPHA program, an intensive, 16-week drug-treatment program for inmates that can help reduce their sentences. But until 2014, Arpaio wouldn't allow inmates in the maximum-security Fourth Avenue Jail to participate, even though many of them arguably could have benefitted.


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