Rep. Clay Announces Plans To File Lawsuit To Have Offensive Painting Rehung In Capitol

Congressman Lacy Clay is throwing a temper-tantrum and filing a lawsuit to re-hang this painting.

Congressman Lacy Clay is throwing a temper-tantrum and filing a lawsuit to re-hang this painting.

Lacy Clay Calls On Court To Hang Anti-Police Painting

Washington, D.C. – The fight over the anti-police painting that once hung in the nation’s Capitol has fired up again. Rep. Lacy Clay, D-Missouri, has issued a statement that he now plans to start suing on Tuesday until the despicable painting re-hung.

According to KBIA, Rep. Clay said in a statement issued on Monday that the issue is artistic freedom.  He said that the painting had been “on peaceful public display for seven months.”  He also said that the Capitol’s official architect, Stephen Ayers, removed the painting in January because of pressure from “certain right-wing media outlets” and House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin.

The painting was among the winners from a Congressional art contest and was painted by a Missouri student, David Pulphus. The painting hung in the Capitol, largely unnoticed, until Blue Lives Matter and other news outlets brought attention to the offensive painting.

In the painting, police officers are depicted as pigs, while pointing guns at black protesters.  Also in the painting, two birds, one black, one white, are shown fighting, and a black protester holding the scales of justice is shown as being crucified.

Rep. Clay chose the painting as the winner of his contest and has continued to fight for it, saying that it was “a provocative, symbolic representation of the great anger and pain, frustration and deep deficit in trust for local law enforcement that many young African Americans feel in their heart.  The pain also reflects generations of struggle, sacrifice, abuse of power and tenuous relationship between minorities and the system of justice.”

After we pushed for the removal of the painting, Rep. Clay refused, even after 27,000 law enforcement officers and officials had protested and said that the painting was “reprehensible, repugnant, and repulsive.”   Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, then personally removed it from the wall and took it to Rep. Clay’s office.

In response, Rep. Clay held a public, media-filled ceremony to rehang the painting.  He also filed a report with the U.S. Capitol Police, and demanded that Rep. Hunter be arrested for theft.  After Capitol Police had a good laugh at Rep. Clay, no charges were ever filed.

Then Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado, Rep. Brian Babin, R-Texas, and Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California followed the lead of Rep. Duncan Hunter in removing the painting from the wall, returning it to Rep. Clay’s office again.  This prompted the Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Rep. Cedric Richmond, D-Louisiana, to say “We may just have to kick somebody’s ass and stop them.”  Rep. Clay rehung the painting each time that it was taken down.

Finally, House Speaker Paul Ryan pointed out that the painting appears to violate the rules of the competition, which bar “exhibits depicting subjects of contemporary political controversy or a sensationalistic and gruesome nature.”

The Capitol Architect then investigated the matter and decided that the painting was coming down.  It was permanently removed after that decision, on January 17, 2017.

Why is this being brought up again?  Rep. Clay’s refusal to admit that the real reason he wants that painting hung is because he’s anti-police and he’s trying to gain favor with the anti-police crowd.  It has nothing to do with the First Amendment claim that he is hiding behind. In today’s society, we don’t need any more anti-police, hate-filled propaganda.


Rep. Lacy Clay’s new lawsuit tactic is straight-up bullying. What’s going to stop this is a strong message that Rep. Clay will lose more favor than he will gain by pursuing this path. Be sure to contact your local representative and let them know that you oppose Rep. Clay’s actions.

Do you think that hanging the painting is a First Amendment issue? We’d like to hear what you think. Please let us know in the poll below or on our Facebook page.