Members of the Congressional Black Caucus are embroiled in a bitter battle with GOP legislators over the removal of a controversial Ferguson painting depicting scenes of police brutality, according to a report by NBC News.
Officers in the painting are portrayed as farm animals with guns aimed at demonstrators, while several protests unfold in the background. The scene evokes the aftermath of the Ferguson protests following the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed Black teenager.
The painting by Ferguson student David Pulphus was selected last year among a bevy of contestants as part of the Congressional Arts Competition and resides in an underground tunnel that connects congressional offices with the United States Capitol building.
To date, the painting has been removed and hung again at least three times in the past week, NBC reports. Each time it is returned to the office of Rep. Lacy Clay, D-Mo., Ferguson’s congressional representative.
Clay told reporters that repeatedly hanging the painting was making him “dizzy,” but that he would remain “persistent in protecting my constituents’ constitutional rights of free speech.”
One of the painting’s outspoken detractors, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., claims the artwork incites violence against police. “It’s offensive. It portrays police officers as pigs and it doesn’t belong in the U.S. Capitol. It’s that simple,” Hunter said.
As of Wednesday, the painting remained up.
According to NBC, Rep. Paul Ryan on Tuesday told several GOP members of Congress that he would move to have the painting removed. Ryan’s office is currently working on a draft addressed to the Architect of the Capitol, prompting a review of the painting and the rules laid out in the art competition’s guidelines.
SOURCE: NBC News
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