“This is the painting outraged law enforcement officials want removed from the Capitol. An Acrylic painting by David Pulphus when he was a student at Cardinal Ritter College Prep high school is stirring up controversy after its display in the U.S. Capitol in Washington. The painting, "Untitled #1," in May had won an annual contest sponsored by U.S. Re. William "Lacy" Clay, D-St. Louis. It is a symbolic representation of injustice, inequality, and the unrest in Ferguson, and, among other things, depicts police officers as animals. Photo courtesy Office of Lacy Clay
This is the painting outraged law enforcement officials want removed from the Capitol. It’s an Acrylic painting by David Pulphus when he was a student at Cardinal Ritter College Prep high school that is stirring up controversy after its display in the U.S. Capitol. The painting, “Untitled #1,” in May had won an annual contest sponsored by U.S. Rep. William “Lacy” Clay, D-St. Louis. According to Clay’s office, it is a “symbolic representation of injustice, inequality, and the unrest in Ferguson, and, among other things, depicts police officers as animals.” Photo courtesy Office of Lacy Clay.

Outraged Los Angeles law enforcement officials Thursday joined with other big-city cops to demand the removal of a painting from the Washington D.C. Capitol depicting police officers as types of pigs.

The Los Angeles police and sheriff’s unions are joining the call for removal of the controversial painting hanging in the U.S. Capitol that depicts two law enforcement officers as warthogs, usually referred to as wild pigs, in uniform aiming guns at protesters.

“This painting has no place hanging on the walls of the U.S. Capitol, it is offensive to those of us in law enforcement and is utterly disrespectful to the men and women who have lost their lives in the line of duty serving their respective duties,” said Sgt. Jerretta Sandoz, vice president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League.

The acrylic painting, by then-high school senior David Pulphus, was a winner in the House of Representatives’ “Artistic Discovery” art contest for high school students. Inspired by protesters’ clashes with the Ferguson Police Department in 2014, the painting is called “Untitled #1.”

Rep. Lacy Clay, D-Missouri, chose the piece as the winner from his district, saying in a May statement that it “portrays a colorful landscape of symbolic characters representing social injustice, the tragic events in Ferguson and the lingering elements of inequality in modern American society.”

The painting hung in the Capitol building in Washington for months without controversy. But on Dec. 30, the Daily Caller reported that The Fraternal Order of Police District of Columbia Lodge #1 objected to the painting.

This week, the LAPPL, the Sergeants Benevolent Association of New York and the San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose Police Officers Associations co-signed a letter to Speaker of the House Paul Ryan asking him to take the painting down.

“Our law enforcement organizations, representing over 27,000 law enforcement professionals, strongly urge you to exercise the extraordinary power you possess as Speaker of the House of Representatives to immediately remove the reprehensible and repugnant `art’ on display in our nation’s Capitol that depicts police officers as pigs intent on gunning down innocent people,” the Jan. 3 letter states.

The Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs also called for the painting’s removal in a blog post, calling it “repulsive.”

Clay has defended the painting. He told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Yes, some people find it offensive. I don’t find it offensive. I find it to be an expression of what one of my constituents is feeling about what he has experienced.”

— Staff and wire reports

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