In the aftermath of the horrific shootings in Arizona, an unlikely battle over free speech and public civility is taking off between Sheriff Clarence Dupnik and Rush Limbaugh. The 75-year-old law enforcement veteran said the style of radio used by the republican talk show host was partially to blame for the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabirelle Giffords. Get the full story, with pictures and videos of the accusations below!

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Drawing cheers from the generally liberal Arizona residents, the law man’s comments on the motives of Jared Loughner have re-sparked a nation-wide debate over the right to free speech, and the responsibility of media. Here’s what he said during a news briefing:

“The kind of rhetoric that flows from people like Rush Limbaugh, in my judgment he is irresponsible, uses partial information, sometimes wrong information,” Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said today. “[Limbaugh] attacks people, angers them against government, angers them against elected officials and that kind of behavior in my opinion is not without consequences.”

The comments by Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik against Rush Limbaugh angered conservatives, who question whether a law enforcement official should be making such accusations.

“I was surprised to see him jump to political conclusions that have no basis in reality,” said John Munger, a former state Republican Party chairman and a lawyer in Tucson.

The Arizona Democrat has a 30 year law enforcement career under his belt, and this isn’t the first time he’s made controversial comments on the moral state of America. “We didn’t have a tea party until we had a black president,” he said at an immigration forum in September. Asked to explain the comment, he added: “I was talking about how bigotry is alive and well in America.”

While conservatives are dismissing the comments as just another liberal attack on GOP media, Pima County Supervisor Ann Day, sister of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, says he’s just the kind of man who can give an honest opinion on the matter. While certainly badly timed and abrasive, she says that the no-nonsense approach by the sheriff is exactly what America is missing.

“I mourn the loss of civil discussion on the issues,” Day said, praising the Dupnik. “He speaks from the heart and he’s not politically correct.”

What do you think of the comments by Arizona Sheriff Clarence Dupnik? Rush Limbaugh rebuked the accusations, calling him a ‘fool.’ Were the comments out of line? Or is this an issue that America needs to start talking about again? Watch the videos on the issue below for more on the story, and let me know your thoughts in the comment section!

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Photos: Connor, Judy Eddy