WASHINGTON–California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter removed a painting, made by a student artist in Democratic Rep. Lacy Clay’s district, which depicts police as pigs and hung on the wall in Capitol with other paintings from members’ districts.
Apparently Rep. Duncan Hunter removed the painting depicting cops as pigs that Rep. William Lacy Clay chose to hang in the Cannon tunnel. pic.twitter.com/FNyq58nOf1
— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) January 6, 2017
Hunter’s spokesman Joe Kasper confirmed that the congressman removed the painting, telling The Daily Caller that he took the painting to Clay’s office, which is 4 doors down from Hunter’s office. No words were exchanged between the two members. According to Kasper, Capitol Hill Police thanked him.
I was angry,” Hunter told Fox News.com. “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.” He added, “Lacy can put it back up, I guess, if he wants to … but I’m allowed to take it down.”
The painting “Untitled #1,” which is part of the annual Congressional art competition, caused controversy after Capitol Hill Police noticed its inclusion among the other paintings on the Cannon tunnel wall last Thursday.
Law enforcement organizations across the country called for the painting, showing the police shooting up a black St. Louis neighborhood, to be removed Thursday and specifically called on Speaker Paul Ryan to order the piece removed from the Capitol.
Andy Maybo, president of the DC Fraternal Order of Police told The Daily Caller in a statement Friday, “I am ecstatic with Congressman Hunter’s actions! As we all know, this painting should never have made it to the walls of Congress. The fact that Congressman Clay didn’t take the painting down when he knew so many were offended and felt disrespected by it is still incomprehensible.”
Maybo added, “Congressman Hunter demonstrated his humility, respect and unwavering support for law enforcement across the country, as well as to the officers who protect him, his staff and his constituents, on a daily basis. I am proud of Congressman Hunter and I hope more members of Congress take note of such a steadfast leader within the United States Capitol. Thank you Congressman Hunter!”
Clay refused to remove the painting himself after the initial uproar stating the artist had First Amendment right to freedom of expression.
“I had no role in selecting the winner of this student art competition and I would never attempt to approve or disapprove artistic expression,” Clay said in a statement. “The U.S. Capitol is a symbol of freedom, not censorship. The young artist chose his own subject and the painting will not be removed.”
The police associations representing more than 27,000 law enforcement professionals, joined DCFOP’s Maybo and the 10,000 members he represents in the District, in their call for the piece’s removal.
“This latest indignation, sponsored by an elected official intent on pandering to professional protesters, unfortunately adds credence to a demonstrably false narrative about law enforcement that undermines the safety of law enforcement officers and those we protect. 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,” a letter from the multiple law enforcement groups stated to Speaker Ryan.
Maybo told The DC last Friday, “The fact that it hangs just feet from where Capitol Police officers are posted on a daily basis, protecting the very members of Congress who support such an offensive piece of artwork, could not be more disrespectful to the Capitol Police, and all law enforcement across the Country,” he said.