Missouri Dem, Black Caucus to Rehang Controversial Cop Painting in Capitol Hallway

Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach) helped hang the painting back up, and said a handful of House members shouldn't be able to decide willy-nilly what is appropriate art.

The dispute grew heated on Tuesday when GOP lawmakers removed the painting from a display of the Congressional Arts Competition in Capitol Hall for the second time in less than a week, according to Politico, leading the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus to say the painting's supporters "may just have to kick somebody's a-". William Lacy Clay (D-Mo.), whose constituent painted it.

Mr. Clay and fellow black lawmakers on Tuesday rehung the work from former high school student David Pulphus that is entitled "Untitled #1". The shooting of Michael Brown by a white Ferguson police officer in August 2014 resulted in violent protests and heightened racial tensions.

"I do not agree or disagree with this painting but I will fight to defend this young man's right to express himself", Clay said. It was one of 400 paintings to win a high school art competition and earn a spot in a hallway in the basement of the Capitol. Clay maintains that the paint represents free speech.

But he also said he could understand how Pulphus feels the way he does.

But this is really not about a student art competition anymore...it's about defending the Constitution. "It is just that simple". He said the painting was about the constitutional rights of expression, according to Fox News. The rules state art that depicts "subjects of contemporary political controversy or a sensationalistic or gruesome nature are not allowed".

Other Republicans, meanwhile, jumped in on the fray.

The controversy began when Rep Duncan Hunter (R-CA) took down the controversial painting.

Clay countered that the paintings have already been approved for display.

It was returned to Clay's office, and then to the wall, only to be stolen a third time, by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., and Brian Babin, R-Texas, and again returned to Clay's office.

The painting, which comes from a student who lives in the same district as Ferguson, shows an officer with an elongated face and tusks amid signs that read "history", and "stop kill". St. Louis American describes the painting as depicting "a downtown street scene with the Gateway Arch displayed in the background and three police officers with animal heads, two with guns in hand, and a large group of marchers moving toward the police".

Clay referred to the actions of Republicans as "blatant censorship" and intends to take legal action.

Come see us again next week, when the painting is either re-removed or fire bombed. The term "pig" first appeared as a derogatory slang for law enforcement agent in Oxford English Dictionary as early as 1811, however, School for Champions educator Ron Kurtus traces the modern popularity of the slur to an incident that occurred at the 1968 National Democratic Convention.

Representative Hunter has argued that free speech can not be used as a justification to hang the portrait, as its perceived offensive nature violates the rules of the art contest and makes it unfit to hang in the Capitol.

The congressman told The Washington Times he would be offended by a painting that featured the Confederate battle flag, but he would not look to censor it.