- The Washington Times - Friday, April 22, 2016

Joe Arpaio, the often outspoken sheriff of Maricopa County, Arizona, didn’t wait long to weigh in on Prince’s unexpected passing on Thursday, and quickly prompted a social media backlash for his remarks. The self-declared “toughest sheriff” in the country took to Twitter to blame drugs for the music legend’s death hours before an autopsy could even be conducted.

“Condolences to family of Prince who allegedly died of overdose,” the 83-year-old law enforcer tweeted late Thursday, according to Raw Story. “Just celebrated 20 yrs of drug rehab in my jails.”

The sheriff’s tweet was deleted soon after it was shared with his 73,000-plus social media followers, but was quickly archived and shared online.

Mr. Arpaio clarified his original claim in a follow-up tweet where he stated that the singer “allegedly was treated for a drug overdose days ago.”

“Drugs are killing our nation!” he said in a separate post published seconds later. Both tweets predictably prompted a social media firestorm from Twitter users who used words like “monster” and “sociopath” in response to the sheriff’s allegations.

Prince Rogers Nelson was found dead earlier Thursday at his estate in Chanhassen, Minnesota, and an autopsy was conducted the following morning by Midwest Medical Examiner’s Office in nearby Ramsey, according to CNN. The medical examiner’s office said that it “will not release information until the exam is complete and all results are obtained.” Prince was 57.

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