You are hereChristian Science Monitor: Lone ranger: Tucson's tough-talking sheriff suddenly has national spotlight

Christian Science Monitor: Lone ranger: Tucson's tough-talking sheriff suddenly has national spotlight

Clarence Dupnik, sheriff of Pima County, called Arizona the 'capitol' of hatred after the Gabrielle Giffords shooting. He's no stranger to controversy. He has said the tea party brings out the 'worst in America' and called Arizona's immigration law 'racist.'

January 10, 2011- Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik has been both lauded and lambasted for linking Saturday's mass shooting at an event for US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D) to a climate of "prejudice and bigotry" in Arizona and to political "vitriol" across the country. 

Among the people he serves in Tucson, Ariz., however, the controversial comments come as no surprise.

To Arizonans, he is the state's foil for Joe Arpaio, the outspoken sheriff of Maricopa County whose unyielding stand against illegal immigration has led to national recognition. As the sheriff for 30 years of the more liberal Pima County – home to the University of Arizona – Dupnik has license for making controversial comments that appear out of line with the rest of the state.

Now, however, his comments have thrown him into a national spotlight, making him either a brave speaker of hard truths or a symbol of a willful desire to stereotype and malign conservative America.

In September, he made similarly pointed comments when he said that the tea party movement brings out "the worst in America."

"We didn’t have a tea party until we had a black president,” he said at an immigration forum at a local church. Asked to explainFULL STORY HERE: the comment, he added: "I was talking about how bigotry is alive and well in America.”



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