Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., a former police officer, asked the Architect of the Capitol if a painting that was a winner in the annual congressional high school contest should be taken down.
The painting by St. Louis high school artist David Pulphus features cops and people depicted as animals in a tense street scene that was likely motivated by the 2014 shooting death of teenager Michael Brown at the hands of a Ferguson Police Officer.
“This painting hung in clear defiance to… rules and was a slap in the face to… men and women who put their lives on the line everyday,” Rep. Reichert told Fox News.
But the idea that the painting “slipped” passed rules is challenged by Rep. Clay who represents the high school artist in Congress.
“This painting by David Pulphus, just like the other 400+ entries, was accepted and approved by the Congressional Art Competition and it has been peacefully displayed in a public forum for more than six months.
The only difference is that the Speaker and his Republican colleagues are attempting to suppress free speech with their own brand of retroactive, vigilante censorship against my constituent. Apparently, they believe that the 1st Amendment does not protect him. That’s not only mean-spirited and wrong, it’s also unconstitutional,” Rep. Clay said in a statement on January 12.
Tonight the Architect of the Capitol, headed by Stephen Ayers has decided that the painting will come down on Tuesday, January 17. The painting has been hanging in a hallway connecting the Cannon House Office Building to the U.S. Capitol for six months.