Immigration Protests Erupt at Arizona Sheriff's Ramona Tea Party Event

Profanity-filled protests broke out Saturday outside the Ramona main stage theater as demonstrators heckled controversial Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a guest speaker at a Tea Party event.

Arpaio’s tough stance on the country's borders and non-conventional law enforcement gained praise among Tea Partiers, while gaining criticism from immigration rights activists.

"Most people support a path to legalization and yet a few racists like these and Joe Arpaio continue to succeed in getting more troops placed on the border," said protester Avery Wear.

Arpaio broke from an interview with NBC 7 to engage the demonstrations.

“Do you want to hear my side?” Arpaio asked the demonstrator. “No, we know your side. It’s full of hate,” the demonstrator responded.

Arpaio finally addressed his audience inside as the protesters eventually left.

"That's why I crack down on that subject matter and crackdown on all the drugs coming into our country from Mexico and I do go public and talk about all the heat I'm taking just because I'm trying to my job." Arpaio said.

Arpaio has been elected sheriff of Maricopa County six times and has a reputation for believing in old-fashioned punishment. As head of the nation's third largest sheriff's office, he is known for his tent city, chain gangs and pink underwear provided to inmates. Years ago, when Arpaio learned that inmates were stealing jailhouse white boxers, he had all inmates' underwear dyed pink.

At Saturday’s speaking event, he even signed some onlookers’ pink underwear.

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