The controversy over the ‘cops as pigs’ painting hanging in the U.S. Capitol complex is threatening to boil over into violence following a threat by Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) who serves as the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.
“”We may just have to kick somebody’s ass and stop them,” Richmond was reported by Politico to have said on Tuesday after the painting was taken down a second time.
The painting was taken down last week by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) and re-hung Tuesday morning by patron Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) Tuesday morning with a challenge to Republicans to try to take down the painting again.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) January 10, 2017
Image via Chad Pergram/Twitter/
Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) took down the painting and returned it to Clay’s office. A furious Clay re-hung the painting. Politico reported on Clay’s reaction:
A visibly frustrated Clay told POLITICO he’ll be seeking a meeting with Ryan to address the conflict, saying the repeated removals reflect a “lack of civility and decorum on the part of members of the majority party of this House.”
“Lamborn came over, brought the picture to me, and I made sure he left swiftly from my office,” Clay said. “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.”
CNS reported Clay repeatedly called police “animals” at a press conference Tuesday. The painting was hung in a tunnel with other paintings in June 2016 as part of a Congressional arts competition. The painting selected by Clay’s office to hang in the Capitol is by St. Louis student David Pulphus and is based on the Ferguson riots. Pulphus calls the painting, “Untitled #1”.
Clay said at the press conference that the painting reflected the young artist’s “impression of law enforcement,” and repeated that some police have displayed “animalistic” behavior numerous times in his remarks to the media.
“I am not anti-police,” Clay said. “I have numerous family members who are part of law enforcement … the artist, has numerous family who are part of law enforcement.”
“What I say is that most police officers are good eggs,” Clay said. “But when you think about how this young man formed – his impression of law enforcement.”
“Over the last five years – he’s 18 — at the age of 13 he witnessed Trey Von Martin’s death at the hands of someone who was supposed to be an authority – George Zimmerman – whose behavior and actions were animalistic,” Clay said. “Fast forward two more years to Michael Brown in Ferguson – unarmed teenager killed by Darren Wilson.”
“Mr. Wilson’s behavior was animalistic,” Clay said. “He shot that kid numerous times.”
“And then you go and see video of Eric Garner in New York being choked by a police officer and killed on video,” Clay said. “That’s animalistic.”
“That’s his impression of this,” Clay said. “You see Tamir Rice being shot in seconds by a person in blue – animalistic behavior.”
“So that’s what I say about police officers,” Clay said. “They do this to teenagers …to young kids.”
“That’s how he formed his opinion about certain officers because of the animalistic behavior toward unarmed teenagers,” Clay said.”