This Tweet Thread Exposes the Big Problem With the Police Brutality Painting Scandal on Capitol Hill

January 11th 2017

Danielle DeCourcey

There's a brewing controversy on Capitol Hill over a student painting about police brutality. However a tweet thread from a Buzzfeed writer reveals that some members of Congress are ignoring other questionable art that's been on the Hill for years. 

A painting by a Missouri teenager for the Congressional Art Competition features a controversial interpretation of police brutality protests in Ferguson: it depicts a police officer as a pig. 

The painting shows black protesters holding signs that say "stop kill" and "racism kills," while a pig in a police uniform points a gun at them. Black people and other minorities are disproportionately shot and killed by police compared to white Americans. 

People on Twitter were angered that the painting showed an officer as a pig. 

The House website said that the paintings are usually displayed for a year, but the controversy has resulted in an on going "theft" and "replacement" of the painting by members of Congress. On Friday, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) told Fox News that he and other colleagues took the painting down because he was angry. On Monday, Democratic Rep. William Clay Lacy, whose from is from Missouri, reportedly called the Capitol Police on Hunter and the other elected officials who took the painting. 

On Tuesday, Democratic members of Congress reportedly tried to put the painting back up twice, but it kept being taken down again. 

However, Buzzfeed political reporter Paul McLeod wrote a funny and sad tweet thread exposing the hypocrisy of the controversy.

He tweeted pictures of six historical statues of confederate leaders and racist Americans inside buildings on Capitol Hill. 

The tweets give a history lesson about the real people behind the statues. McLeod tweeted that Alexander Hamilton Stephens was a "pro-slavery advocate" who "argued whites were the superior race." 

The last picture was a statue of North Carolina Governor Charles Aycock, who McLeod called a "champion of segregated schools." At the time of publication the painting was back up. 

Although these symbols of the confederacy still stand on Capitol Hill, the confederate flag has been attacked as a racist symbol in the past. When Dylann Roof shot and killed nine people in a church in South Carolina in 2015, it reinvigorated a discussion about the racist history of the Confederate flag and its use in government buildings. In June of 2015, activist Bree Newsome climbed the South Carolina Capitol's flag pole and took the Confederate flag down. 

"You come against me with hatred and oppression and violence," she reportedly said. "I come against you in the name of God. This flag comes down today!"

Two weeks later, South Carolina Gov. Niki Haley signed a bill to remove the Confederate flag from the outside the statehouse.