A Republican congressman decided to personally remove an offensive painting depicting police officers as pigs that a colleague had allowed to be displayed at the U.S. Capitol complex.
“I was angry,” Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. said. “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.”
Hunter took matters into his own hands, walked over to the artwork Friday morning with a few colleagues and unscrewed it, then gave it to the office of Rep. Lacy Clay, D-Mo., the congressman whose office had allowed the piece to be displayed. The painting, done by a high school student, was hanging there since June.
Regardless of the fact that it was winner of Clay’s annual Congressional Art competition, the piece drew outrage from law enforcement groups and fellow lawmakers.
Hunter said about his decision, and whether it will be displayed again: “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 yet commented about this.
This came after over 27,000 law enforcement professionals protested the display of what they called a “reprehensible, repugnant and repulsive” painting in the hallway of the Capitol.
Ron Hernandez, president of the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs, said in a statement Friday they were “very pleased” that the piece is removed.
He said: “At a time of our country facing rising crime and a shortage of those willing to work the streets as police officers and deputy sheriffs, we need to make it clear that depictions of law enforcement officers as pigs in our Nation’s Capital is not acceptable.”
The controversial acrylic painting depicts a police officer as a pig in uniform aiming a gun at African-American protesters. Above them, two birds — one black, one white — fight, and beside there is a crucified African-American protester holding a scale of justice, reports Fox News.
The ‘Untitled’, was created by then-Cardinal Ritter Prep senior David Pulphus, and was on display in the hallway between the Capitol and adjacent House office buildings. Clay’s office has said the author of the painting was speaking from his own life experience, living close to Ferguson, Mo.
Hunter, however, said he’s friends with Clay, calling him a “great guy,” but also added, “But you’ve got to respect our men in uniform and what they do.”
Even before Hunter’s act, House leaders were already pressured to take the painting down.
In a request for House Speaker Paul Ryan to remove it, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, the Sergeants Benevolent Association of New York, and the San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose Police Officers Associations said: “This false narrative portrays law enforcement professionals as posing a danger to the very communities we serve. That is untrue and this ‘art’ reinforces this false narrative and is disrespectful on so many levels.”
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