Congressman Wants Republican Arrested for Removing Anti-Cop Painting
Democratic congressman Lacy Clay wants his Republican colleague, Rep. Duncan Hunter, arrested and charged for removing an anti-police panting from the walls of the U.S. Capitol on Friday. Clay, whose Congressional Black Caucus sponsored the art contest that was won by the painting, said Hunter had no right to take it down.
“The rehanging of this painting for public view represents more than just protecting the rights of a student artist, it is a proud statement in defense of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which guarantees freedom of expression to every American,” said Clay and the CBC in a statement.
The painting drew sharp condemnation from police unions when it first went up in the Capitol last summer. Because it depicts police officers as warthogs, law enforcement leaders say it perpetuates a mythical narrative of cops as racist murderers. They have pressured Congress to remove the painting for some time.
Hunter, though, decided Friday that we wasn’t going to wait around for congressional leaders to take action. He grabbed a couple of friends, marched down to where the painting hung, and unscrewed it from the wall himself.
“Lacy can put it back up, I guess, if he wants to,” Hunter told reporters for Fox News. “But I’m allowed to take it down.”
On Monday, Clay and the CBC pushed back, insisting that the painting was not offensive and that Hunter was out of line.
“He had no right to take that picture down,” Clay said. “It’s thievery.”
Clay said the artist – high school senior David Pulphus – did not intend for the painting to disparage all police officers and that he had respect for good cops.
“He just doesn’t have respect for police who use the cover of a blue uniform to do animalistic things to people,” the Missouri congressman said. “Any black parent would tell you that they have to have this conversation with their children about police and how to act around them, so that’s the conversation we need to be having here. Not about taking some kid’s picture off the wall — it should be about, how do we change these attitudes and improve the relationships between police and the black community?”
Well, maybe the first step is to treat police officers like the human beings they are. By dehumanizing them as murderous beasts, the artist is encouraging the kind of anti-police violence that we’ve seen take root all over the country. And by sponsoring the painting, Democrats in the Black Congressional Caucus are putting the U.S. government’s stamp of approval on that message.
Hunter shouldn’t be arrested; he should be given a medal.