Painting in Capitol building depicting a cop as a pig taken down by GOP congressman

A painting depicting a police officer as a wild boar shooting a black man has hung in the hall of the U.S. Capitol building since the summer, causing outrage among police organizations across the country.

Several police groups urged Speaker Paul Ryan to remove the offensive painting, which won an art competition in the district of St. Louis congressman Lacy Clay. 

Yesterday, Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Marine veteran, unscrewed the painting from the wall and removed it, returning it to Rep. Clay's office.


“I took it down when I walked by and gave it back to Lacy,” Hunter told POLITICO. Asked about blowback from Clay, the Congressional Black Caucus or Democrats, he scoffed: “Blowback from what? Taking a down a painting that depicts policemen as pigs? No, I’m not.”

Clay plans to rehang the painting in the Cannon tunnel on Tuesday. His office circulated a note to CBC members Friday afternoon urging them to join him "in supporting artistic expression and decorum and against censorship."

"The U.S. Capitol features several pieces from American history that CBC members may find objectionable- art and figures reflecting segregationist, traitors, and slave owners," Yvette Cravins, Clay's chief of staff, said in an email sent to CBC offices and obtained by POLITICO.

"Rep. Clay has always respected the right of expression and freedom of speech. Therefore, he will not tolerate the removal of a painting from the First Congressional District of Missouri’s art contest due to a Member’s personal objections," Cravins added.

The topic had surfaced in a closed-door GOP conference meeting on Friday. Reps. Billy Long (R-Mo.) and David Reichert (R-Wash.), a former cop, “talked about how disrespectful it was to men and women who served in uniform,” Hunter told POLITICO in a short phone interview when asked about the matter.

The acrylic painting on canvas, created by David Pulphus, shows police officers in uniform holding up guns at black men. One has the face of a boar; another what looks like the face of a horse. The black man being aimed at appears to have the face of a wolf, while onlooking pedestrians in the background hold up signs that read “stop kill,” “history” and “racism kills.”

Does anyone believe that the representation of a cop featuring a boar’s head isnt meant to depict cops as pigs?  It's one thing to hang paintings depicting slave owners.  That's history and is in keeping with an accurate portrayal of America.

But a painting that is clearly meant to incite and offend has no place in the U.S. Capitol building.  Clay can move the painting to a parking garage, and it would still offend.

Hunter should be commended for taking matters into his own hands.  While the rest of the GOP House members were wringing their hands, not wanting to offend the Black Caucus, Hunter did what should have been done in the first place. 

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