Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sheriff Dupnik's Irresponsible Comments

Gary Fouse at Fousesquawk kindly granted me permission to repost this.  He sums it up very nicely.  

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Sheriff Dupnik's Irresponsible Comments

If Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik did not cross of line of professionalism yesterday with his public comments about "vitriol" and "prejudice in Arizona", he definitely did today. Of course, this piles sand on what I just posted about the liberal media's premature attempt to tie this hideous act in Tucson to conservative talk radio, tea parties and everything else the left hates. That is irresponsible journalism which we have come to expect. However, we should not expect political commentary and personal opinions from a law enforcement officer, especially when there are no facts to bear out what he is suggesting.

From Saturday:

"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government," said Dupnik at a press conference Saturday. "The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

“And today I want to tell you that I hope that all Americans are saddened and as shocked as we are. And I hope that some of them or most of them are as angry as I am and as a lot of us are. And I think it’s time as a country that we need to do a little soul searching. Because it’s the vitriolic rhetoric that we hear day in and day out from people in the radio business and some people in the tv business, and what we see on tv and how our youngsters are being raised. That this has not become the nice United States of America that most of us grew up in. And I think it’s time that we do the soul searching.”

I am going to draw on my own law enforcement experience here. On occasion, I have had microphones thrust into my face. On those occasions, one has to carefully measure one's words and stick to facts, not opinions. Today, while being interviewed by Fox News' Megyn Kelly, Dupnik again crossed the line into partisan politics. He talked about how "one party is doing everything they can to block the other party from making America a better place".

What does that have to do with this tragedy? If there is indeed a connection, that has not yet been shown. The sheriff is expressing opinions, not facts. Note that Kelly pinned him down and got him to admit that he did not have any facts to support his statement but was just stating his opinion.

If partisans like Keith Olbermann want to make a case for which there is no basis in fact, well, that's Keith. This is a guy who turns natural disasters into political issues. However, we expect more from our professional law enforcement officers who are making public statements about a case that the whole country is following closely. I hate to point this out, lest I engage in politics myself, but it is a documented fact that Dupnik is an active Democrat, who publicly condemned the Arizona immigration law. The man has an agenda. Forget the question of whether or not we agree with his agenda. It has no place in this issue. Did Sheriff Dupnik find a Republican party card in the suspect's wallet? Are there any facts to support what he is-at the very least-implying?

I can tell you from my own law enforcement experience that Sheriff Dupnik is acting unprofessionally by inserting his political opinions into the discussion and implying facts that are not proven. The one fact that we can assume from what we know is that the suspect has some sort of mental illness. At this point, there is nothing to tie him to conservative commentators, tea parties, blogs or anybody else.

Naturally, as we speak, Dupnik is being embraced by the liberal media and the left. That doesn't change the fact that he is acting unprofessionally and beyond the scope of his duties in the midst of this incident. My advice to Sheriff Dupnik is to keep to the facts as they come out. Leave the political arguments to the politicians, pundits, activists and commentators. The fact that they are jumping on this with both feet is bad enough. That the man the whole community and indeed country is looking to for leadership and results engages in this kind of speculation without presenting any evidence is just plain unprofessional and irresponsible. He is only adding to the emotion and division that he himself condemns.

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