Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter told Fox & Friends on Tuesday he does not fear being arrested for taking down a painting depicting policemen as pigs that was hanging in the U.S. Capitol complex, even after his Democratic colleague William Lacy Clay demanded criminal charges be brought against him.
"The Capitol Police are not going to arrest me for taking down a picture that portrays them as pigs," Hunter said. "It just blows my mind how Democrats think it's OK to portray cops as pigs. . . . It's a sad commentary on the Democratic Party that the one thing they are willing to stand up for in this country is to portray police as pigs."
The artwork, which depicts a police officer as a pig in uniform aiming a gun at black protesters, has been on display in the hallway between the Capitol and adjacent House office buildings since June, after it won Clay's annual Congressional Art competition.
Hunter took down the painting Friday after law enforcement officers protested the display of what they called a "reprehensible, repugnant, and repulsive" painting, emphasizing as the country faces "rising crime and a shortage of those willing to work the streets . . . we need to make it clear that depictions of law enforcement officers as pigs in our Nation's Capital is not acceptable."
The Los Angeles Times reported Clay gathered with members of the Congressional Black Caucus and a handful of other members Tuesday to put back up the painting.
"I do not agree or disagree with the painting, but I will fight to protect this young man's right to express himself," said Clay, whose district includes Ferguson, Mo., where the shooting death of African American suspect Michael Brown by a white policeman sparked riots in 2014.
House Republicans are working through official channels to have the painting removed permanently, although Hunter said he will not personally take it down again.
"I can't keep taking it down over and over," Hunter told Fox & Friends. "That becomes kind of a tit-for-tat thing. . . . Paul Ryan has the ability to make sure that no artwork that depicts cops as pigs, or that depicts congressmen as prostitutes, or depicts anybody in a poor way like this gets put up. . . ."
"So, Paul's got to do something about this."
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