— The Hill (@thehill) February 20, 2017
A Democratic Congressman is preparing to file a lawsuit on Tuesday against the Architect of the Capitol, after a controversial painting was removed from the Capitol complex. Rep. Lacy Clay of Missouri will reportedly argue that his constituent David Pulphus, who created the work, was deprived of his First Amendment rights when the painting of police officers, which depicted them as wild pigs with guns drawn in a confrontation with black protesters, was taken down.
The painting was on display after it won a congressional art contest. House Republicans, upset by it, took it down, leading Clay to put it back. This happened three times in one day. The Architect of the Capitol later said that it violated House Office Building Commission rules. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi tried to appeal, but failed.
“Seven months after being displayed as part of a public exhibit, a deluge of alternative right media, aided by the unauthorized actions of certain reactionary members of Congress, deprived Mr. Pulphus of his constitutionally guaranteed 1st Amendment Right of Free Expression,” Clay’s office said in a statement to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Clay represents a Missouri district that includes Ferguson, which was the center of violent anti-police protests after Michael Brown, a black man, was shot and killed by a white police officer in August 2014.
[Image via KTVI screengrab]