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At Lawmaker's Behest, Painting of Cops as Pigs Graces U.S. Capital

As the Obama era mercifully comes to a close, a painting that depicts police officers as pigs with guns pointed at black people is gracing a wall in the nation's capital.

The untitled painting, by a senior at a Catholic high school in St. Louis, was chosen on behalf of Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO) as part of the United States Congressional Art Competition. The student's artwork won first place in Missouri’s 1st Congressional District, so it's now being displayed in a tunnel between the U.S. Capitol building and Longworth House Office Building.

Clay praised the painting in a press release:

Cardinal Ritter College Prep High School Senior David Pulphus has won Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay’s 16th Annual Congressional Art Competition.

His visually stunning acrylic painting on canvas entitled, “Untitled #1” will be displayed at the U.S. Capitol Complex. Pulphus will travel to Washington, DC, courtesy of Southwest Airlines, to unveil his winning entry. The painting portrays a colorful landscape of symbolic characters representing social injustice, the tragic events in Ferguson, Missouri and the lingering elements of inequality in modern American society.

According to Independent Journal Review, the artwork "supposedly symbolizes the unrest that followed the fatal shooting of Michael Brown" by a police officer in Ferguson, MO, in 2014. Included in the painting is a depiction of "St. Michael" being crucified while wearing a graduation cap.

The St. Louis American describes the painting thus:

His winning work is an acrylic painting featuring a downtown street scene with the Gateway Arch displayed in the background and three police officers with animal heads, two with guns in hand, and a large group of marchers moving toward the police.

[…]

The lead marcher carries a sign that says the word “history.” Pulphus’ painting includes several signs, one of which says “Racism Kills,” and another “Stop Killing.” On the right you can see a man being crucified wearing a graduation cap holding the scales of justice in his hands.

The painting is an interpretation of the months of unrest that took place in the region in response to the fatal shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown Jr. by then-Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson on August 9, 2014.

Do we really have to go over this again?

Brown, of course, was described as a "gentle giant" before he was seen pushing a petite Asian shopkeeper around to steal a handful of cigarillos -- presumably to use for his pot-smoking habit. Then he swore at the police officer, refused to comply with lawful police orders, resisted arrest, assaulted the cop, reached for the officer's gun, evaded arrest, and, instead of putting his hands up and saying "don't shoot," put his head down and charged at the officer. That's when the "unarmed teen" met his fateful end.