Washington, D.C. - The controversial, anti-police painting hanging in a Capitol hallway is permanently coming down on Tuesday, January 17, 2017.
According to The Washington Post, Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., said in a statement earlier today, January 13, 2017, that he had been advised by House Speaker Paul Ryan's office that Capitol officials had determined that the painting was in violation of House Rules and would be permanently removed on Tuesday.
Rep. Reichert is a former Sheriff. He talked to Speaker Ryan earlier this week and asked him to have the painting removed because it was against competition rules, “depicting subjects of contemporary political controversy or a sensationalistic or gruesome nature," on Capitol grounds. The painting depicts police officers as pigs and is supposed to reflect the 2014 civil unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, after Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer.
The painting hung unnoticed for seven months until its subject was recognized. It then became the focus of social media and a continuing outrage from police groups, law enforcement officers and others because of its blatant and egregious disrespect of police. After it was taken down the first time by a Republican Congressman and returned to Rep. Clay's Office, Rep. Clay had it re-hung in a staged media event with Black Congressional Caucus members present.
Rep. Clay continued to advocate for the painting to remain, stating he was protecting the student artist's First Amendment rights. Then he mentioned specifically the topic of the painting, and said "The African American community has had a painful, tortured history with law enforcement in this country. That’s not contemporary, that’s historic.” And many began to question his true intent.
The painting was removed by Republican Congressmen on two other occasions and taken to Rep. Clay's Office, who turned around and re-hung the painting each time. He stated that he was becoming an expert on re-hanging pictures. Republican lawmakers met and agreed to pursue permanent removal of the painting through petitioning the Architect of the Capitol for the previously mentioned reasons.
Tensions over the inflammatory painting escalated this week as one Democrat Congressman and the head of the Black Congressional Caucus, Rep. Cedric Richmond, said "we might just have to kick some ass" if another lawmaker tried to remove the painting from the wall.
Speaker Ryan called the painting "disgusting" and "not befitting the Capitol on Friday, January 13, 2017 and said that he was confident that it would come down. He also said that no one had a Constitutional right to hang a painting in the Capitol. In a statement Rep. Reichert again mentioned the competition rules and said, "This painting hung in clear defiance to those rules and was 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.”
Interestingly enough, an unknown person placed a 'thin blue line' flag above the anti-police painting on the evening of January 12, 2017. And not much is being said about it. But that flag outshone that painting by far.
Rep. Clay's office had no comment on the decision to remove the painting.
Imagine that. His office had no comment. That's because there was no comment to be made. And a Congressman who threatens to "kick ass" to fellow lawmakers is almost like having a tantrum because you didn't get your way. Thank you Rep. Reichert, Speaker Ryan, Rep. Duncan Hunter, Rep. Brian Babin, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, and other lawmakers who took a very public stand for law enforcement, whether personally removing the painting from the wall or supporting its removal. We are grateful and it is very welcome.
When the painting is removed, do you think that pictures of fallen officers should take its place? Let us know on our Facebook page or in the comments below.