Congressional Black Caucus members rehung a controversial painting depicting police officers as pigs on a Capitol Hill wall Tuesday after Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter (Calif.) removed the painting last week.
The painting’s return was led by Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), who said its removal went against freedom of speech and expression: “This is about protecting the Constitution,” he said, The Hill reported.
Rep. Lacy Clay (D-Mo) put the cops-as-pigs painting back on the wall in the Cannon Tunnel pic.twitter.com/hN7tiXX0ek
— Cristina Marcos (@cimarcos) January 10, 2017
But the painting of a confrontation between black protesters and police didn’t stay put for long.
Another GOP lawmaker, Doug Lamborn of Colorado, removed it again Tuesday, his office confirmed with TheBlaze.
“Just yesterday, we honored Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. I could not, in good conscience, continue to walk by a painting that so flagrantly disrespected the brave police officers that protect us here in the Capitol and in our communities across the country,” Lamborn said in a statement. “I decided to continue the protest started by my colleague Congressman Hunter and I hope that permanent action is taken to remove this brazen attack on the brave men and women who make up the thin blue line.”
Clay soon placed the painting back on the wall for a second time Tuesday.
— Rema Rahman (@remawriter) January 10, 2017
After Hunter unscrewed and took down the painting Friday and then delivered it Clay’s office, Clay said he wanted Capitol Police to charge Hunter with theft.
“He had no right to take that picture down,” Clay told the Washington Post. “It’s thievery.”
But Hunter, a California lawmaker, on Tuesday told Fox News’ “Fox & Friends,” “Capitol Police aren’t going to arrest me for taking down a picture that portrays them as pigs.” In fact, the Hill said Capitol Police also are upset by the painting, which is displayed near a police security checkpoint. A law enforcement group called it “reprehensible, repugnant and repulsive,” Fox News reported.
Rep. Dave Reichert (R-Wash.) warned that rehanging the painting “could result in the [death] of another police officer,” the network added.
The painting is by David Pulphus, a recent high school graduate and Clay constituent who won the Democrat’s annual congressional art competition last year.
More from The Hill:
House Republicans discussed the painting during a morning conference meeting on Tuesday and concluded it violates the art competition’s rules, according to members in attendance.
They concluded the painting violates the art competition’s guidelines that no submissions depict “sensationalistic” subjects of “contemporary political controversy.” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told members he was going to look into removing the painting, spokeswoman AshLee Strong said.
Rep. David Reichert (R-Wash.), a former sheriff, plans to ask the Architect of the Capitol to remove the painting.
When told that Ryan is reviewing a process to take down the painting, Clay indicated he is open to deliberating such a step. The problem, he said, was Hunter’s decision to remove it unilaterally.
Clay said there are statues of Confederate leaders like Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee in the Capitol complex that he finds “deeply offensive,” but he hasn’t tried to remove them himself.
“I don’t mind the Speaker’s office following a process. If there’s a process to remove this painting, well, let’s start the process. And let’s discuss it,” Clay told the Hill. “But you just don’t walk up here and remove a painting because you are offended by it.”