Painting Depicting Law Enforcement As "Pigs" Has No Place in US Capital

by ALADS Board of Directors
A painting depicting law enforcement as "pigs" and chosen by Congressman Lacy Clay is currently hanging in public space in the United States Capital. Since Congressman Clay has refused to remove this piece of hate, the Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS) is calling on House Speaker Paul Ryan to remove this piece of hate from the public space.  Hatred of law enforcement should not be displayed in the halls of the United States House of Representatives.
The repulsive piece was selected following an " art competition" by Congressman Lacy Clay. The Congressman hailed the hate piece as containing "symbolic characters representing social injustice" and "events in Ferguson, Missouri." In his opinion, it was "the most creative expression that I've witnessed in the last 16 years."
In this past year, we have seen unprecedented assassinations of multiple police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, with the killers motivated by hatred of police. Sadly, the number of officers killed in ambush attacks in 2016 is more than double the average of the previous decade. This painting or other public displays of hatred of police like chants from groups like Black Lives Matter of " Pigs in a blanket, fry 'em like bacon"  deserve only condemnation, not praise, from public officials.
This isn't a matter of free speech. In just the past year, Congress removed Confederate battle emblems from the tunnels at the Capital following controversy over their display. Congressman Bernie Thompson lauded the removal, stating he was pleased there would no longer be displayed " symbols of hatred and bigotry in the esteemed halls of the United States House of Representatives" and that Congress should "refuse to condone symbols that seek to divide us."
Joe Patterson, President of the St. Louis County Police Association , said it best, "we are not about censorship, but good art and good taste are sometimes not the same thing. This is an extraordinarily disrespectful piece at a minimum. We in the law enforcement community have been continuing to work to build bridges and come to a better understanding with our minority community...and then we have irresponsible leadership from elected officials pouring gasoline on bridges haven't even finished being built yet. He's picking at these wounds that we're trying to heal."
Everyone should be alarmed when those whose job it is to fight crime on a daily basis are being depicted as pigs. Why do otherwise reasoned individuals-despite evidence before them to the contrary-become reflexively critical of police? How can a member of Congress jump to the twisted conclusion that it is okay to hang a painting that adds to the divide in our country and attacks law enforcement? Public safety requires a strong two-way partnership. At a time of our country facing rising crime and a shortage of those willing to work the streets as police officers and deputy sheriffs, we need to make it clear that depictions of law enforcement officers as pigs in our Nation's Capital are not acceptable. The dedicated men and women who put on a uniform daily, who serve to protect our communities, deserve all the support the community can possibly provide.
On behalf of law enforcement officers across this great country, we call on Speaker Ryan to ensure the prompt removal of this painting from general public display at the Capital. If Congressman Clay thinks it should remain at the Capital, then he should move it inside his office, where those who choose to visit the Congressman or his staff can be subjected to a visual display of the Congressman's contempt towards law enforcement.
To repeat and paraphrase Congressman Thompson, this piece of hate should not hang in the "esteemed halls of the United States House of Representatives."

  The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs (ALADS) is the collective bargaining agent representing more than 7,900 deputy sheriffs and district attorney investigators working in Los Angeles County. 

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