Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
[tnivideo caption=”Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik’s Press Conference after the Shooting of Gabrielle Giffords” credit=”MSNBC”]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ccY9lNRiUWg[/tnivideo]
After the Tucson massacre and the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords early this month, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik called on the nation to do some soul-searching and blamed hateful, vitriolic speech for creating an atmosphere of hate in this country. Dupnik’s honesty in the face of tragedy won him hundreds– if not thousands– of supporters and enemies and catapulted him to the national stage with interviews on several television networks.
Now, a right-wing, anti-immigrant group— Americans Against Immigration Amnesty (AAIA)– from Utah has started a recall effort against Dupnik. Here is their vitriol against Dupnik from AAIA website. Compare AAIA’s totally inaccurate description of Dupnik’s comments below with the actual video footage above.
“Beginning the day of the horrific events in Tucson, Arizona that claimed the lives of 6 and injured so many others, we were deluged with emails and phone calls from members and non-members in Arizona, as well as across the United States concerning the actions of Pima County Sheriff, Clarence Dupnik. Our members and Americans in general were bewildered by the Sheriff’s shameless political grandstanding and irresponsible comments within hours of this tragedy. As one member of AAIA said, ‘the Sheriff has forever sullied his office, uniform and badge’.
In light of the requests from our members and Americans across the nation, we have completed our research, conferred with the appropriate legal experts and have concluded that the recall of Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupinik is the appropriate course on behalf of the citizens of Pima County. We will therefore proceed with such a recall effort and are preparing the Petitions to be forwarded to Pima County registered voters to begin gathering the required signatures. Our goal will be to gather 110,000 signatures in the coming weeks and this matter will promptly proceed to a recall election.”– Dan Baltes, Executive Director, Americans Against Immigration Amnesty
Americans Against Immigration Amnesty is a section 527 political organization with members in 47 states.
Dupnik’s speech is sad and soulful– not “shameless political grandstanding,” as AAIA describes it. Who is helping to promote AAIA’s efforts? FOX News (we already know what they think of Tucson), the Pima County Tea Party Patriots, and local right-wing shock jock Jon Justice.
Why are AAIA, FOX, the Tea Party Patriots, and Justice really after Dupnik? It has absolutely nothing to do with his comments after the Tucson massacre. These groups are targeting him because he was one of the few elected officials in Arizona who took a firm stand against SB1070— Arizona’s strict anti-immigrant legislation– last year. In a Wall Street Journal Op-Ed, Dupnik didn’t mince words about SB1070
I have argued from the moment that this bill was signed that it is unnecessary, that it is a travesty, and most significantly, that it is unconstitutional.
Pima County, where I am sheriff, shares 123 miles of border with Mexico. Patrolling this area for illegal immigrants is like trying to keep water from passing through a sieve.
The pro-SB1070 Pima County Tea Party Patriots (not to be confused with the Tucson Tea Party) is planning a Dump Dupnik rally for this coming Friday. There are rumblings of a counter-protest by Dupnik supporters– which locally probably outnumber his detractors. The Pima County Democratic Party is suggesting donating blood to the Red Cross as a peaceful protest to the Tea Party.
The bottomline is: the right-wing is trying to suppress freedom of speech, silence Dupnik, and intimidate politicians from speaking from their hearts. We can’t let them get away with that. I’ll let you decide what to do about it.
UPDATE: Who said it was OK for the Utah group to recall our sheriff? Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall. Doesn’t Barbara like Clarence?