Just about an hour after the Congressional Black Caucus rehung a controversial painting depicting police officers as pigs, the artwork was taken down for a second time.
Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) admitted to removing the painting and returning it to the office of Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO) on the first occasion. On Tuesday, Clay said Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-CO) took down the painting and marched it back to the Democrat's office.
Lamborn confirmed his act of “protest” in a statement:
“Just yesterday, we honored Law Enforcement Appreciation Day. I could not, in good conscience, continue to walk by a painting that so flagrantly disrespected the brave police officers that protect us here in the Capitol and in our communities across the country. I decided to continue the protest started by my colleague Congressman Hunter and I hope that permanent action is taken to remove this brazen attack on the brave men and women who make up the thin blue line.”
Clay said he has since put the painting back up for the third time.
The painting, “Untitled #1,” was displayed at the U.S. Capitol as part of a congressional art competition for high school students. Clay has defended the painting's content and is now citing the First Amendment as he fights to keep it up.
“This is really not about a student art competition anymore,“ Clay said. ”It’s about defending the Constitution.”
Clay also reportedly tried to file charges against Hunter, the congressman who first took down the painting. It's unclear whether police will pursue the case.