There is drama in the Capitol over a spat between the Congressional Black Caucus and House Republicans involving whether or not a painting should be on display, Politico reports.
A high school student from Ferguson, Missouri painted the artwork — which addresses police brutality and the racism that is prevalent within the law enforcement community — for a competition. The painting shows police with animal heads who have their guns pointed at black people, with a sign that reads “racism kills.”
Congressional Black Caucus members held a ceremony on Tuesday as they placed the painting back on display after it was first removed last week by California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter. According to the report, they also dared Republicans to remove the painting again.
It wasn’t long before Colorado Rep. Doug Lamborn took the dare seriously and removed the painting again on Tuesday, and took it to Rep. William Lacy Clay’s office, who represents Ferguson. CBC chair Louisiana Rep. Cedric Richmond responded to the painting’s removal with “We may just have to kick somebody’s ass and stop them.”
Those who have expressed any criticism of the painting suggested it was because it represented police as “pigs” and therefore should not be in the Capitol. Supporters say it’s a matter of free speech and expression.
In a statement addressing why Lamborn removed the painting again on Tuesday, he said, “Just yesterday, we honored Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. I could not, in good conscience, continue to walk by a painting that so flagrantly disrespected the brave police officers that protect us here in the Capitol and in our communities across the country.”
“I decided to continue the protest started by my colleague Congressman Hunter and I hope that permanent action is taken to remove this brazen attack on the brave men and women who make up the thin blue line,” the statement added.
However, Clay, whose office the painting keeps resurfacing in, told Politico that Republicans repeatedly removing the painting shows nothing besides a “lack of civility and decorum on the part of members of the majority party of this House.”
“I’m in the middle of meetings in my office and he brings the picture. It’s a lack of decorum and respect for people’s constituents and people’s First Amendment rights. This kid has a right to express on canvas what he feels. How dare you try to stifle that, try to censor that. That’s wrong,” he said.
Clay’s communications director, Steve Engelhardt told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that as of 2:05 p.m. E.T., the painting was back in the Capitol tunnel, from which it was earlier removed.