A painting that depicts police officers as a pigs will be removed from its hanging place on Capitol Hill.
The painting was sponsored and hung by Congressman Lacy Clay, a Democrat from Missouri’s First District. The painting displays police officers shown as pigs, with their guns pointed at a man painted as a black panther, all as protesters march in the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. It was hung among hundreds of paintings produced by high school students which line a hallway leading to the capital.
Congressman Dave Reichert (R-WA 8) complained that the painting violated the art competition’s rules shortly after it was hung. Those rules state that paintings should not show controversial political topics or gruesome images. “The painting is a slap in the face to the countless men and women who put their lives on the line everyday on behalf of our safety and freedom,” Reichert said in a written statement.
Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA 52) removed the painting without permission, and returned it to Clay’s office. Clay and members of the Congressional Black Caucus then hung the painting again.
Soon after, other Republicans including Congressmen Doug Lamborn (CO 5), Brian Babin (TX 36), and Dana Rohrabacher (CA 48) followed Hunter’s lead and removed the painting again. This led the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressman Cedric Richmond (D-LA 2), to say that “We might just have to kick somebody’s a** and stop them.”
The Congressional Black Caucus’s support of this painting highlights a recent pattern of disrespect toward law enforcement. Over the past year, there have been numerous police-involved shootings where President Barack Obama and lawmakers jumped to blame law enforcement for being in the wrong.
Negative feelings towards police departments have been spreading, causing distrust and hatred of police officers. According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, the number of officers shot and killed went up by 67% this past year.
We need our leaders to show support for law enforcement more than ever. The representatives who fought for the removal of this painting did just that. Today, it is more difficult than ever to be a police officer. We must support the brave men and women who risk their lives everyday to keep our communities safe.
Depicting police officers as pigs is a disgusting representation of some of the bravest men and women in this country. What is even more disgusting is when our elected officials are fine supporting that type of depiction, in a painting or elsewhere.