After a week of media scrutiny and protests by current and former law enforcement officers against a piece of artwork that denigrated police and depicted them as pigs, one Republican congressman decided to take matters into his own hands. On Friday morning, Representative Duncan Hunter (R
-California) removed the piece from the Congressional Art Competition area and delivered it to the office of the congressman who had sponsored the piece, Representative Lacy Clay (D-Missouri).
“I was angry,” Hunter said in an interview “I’ve seen the press [reporting] on this for about a week or so. … I’m in the Marine Corps. If you want it done, just call us.” When later asked what would happen if Clay put the painting back up, Hunter added, “Lacy can put it back up, I guess, if he wants to … but I’m allowed to take it down.”
Clay’s office has not commented on whether he will return the painting to the viewing area. The painting had been selected from Clay’s district as part of an annual high school art competition, and was intended to symbolic the tensions and conflict after Michael Brown was shot by police in Ferguson. Clay previously defended the piece as an expression of free speech, however, over 27,000 law enforcement professionals have since protested the display of what they called a “reprehensible, repugnant and repulsive” painting in the hallway of the Capitol.
When speaking with other colleagues in the House, Clay has said “You want [an 18-year-old] to get on TV and cry about why his painting is taken down, you can go down that path.”
Follow the author on Twitter: @OkieRepublican