Sheriff Clarence Dupnik has become a focal point for controversy because of remarks he made just after the Jan. 8 shootings. DEAN KNUTH / ARIZONA DAILY STAR

The Pima County Tea Party Patriots group is planning a "Dump Dupnik" rally Jan. 28 in front of the sheriff's office.

The rally plans come after Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik became a lightning rod for controversy because of comments he made during a news conference about the Jan. 8 shootings in Tucson. Six people were killed and 13 wounded, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, as she held a public event to meet with constituents.

Dupnik linked the shootings to vitriol in politics and said Arizona had "become the mecca of prejudice and bigotry."

Pima County Tea Party Patriots say they plan to "indict" Dupnik for politicizing the shootings, blaming free speech for the crime without evidence, failing to protect Giffords, failing to recuse himself from the investigation, and embarrassing the community in front of the nation. They plan to hold the rally at 3:30 p.m. at the sheriff's headquarters, 1750 E. Benson Highway.

The group is separate from the Tucson Tea Party. The Pima County Tea Party Patriots formed last summer and held their first rally in July on Arizona's controversial immigration enforcement law, SB 1070.

Dupnik's comments have prompted a national debate about political discourse, and brought out Dupnik supporters and opponents. Dupnik has not responded to interview requests from the Star this week.

The sheriff's remarks have also prompted a Salt Lake resident to launch a recall effort.

Pima County Tea Party Patriots organizer Allyson Miller said in a news release that Dupnik should resign.

Contact reporter Andrea Kelly at or 807-7790.