California Republican Rep. Duncan Hunter has removed from display in the Cannon tunnel the controversial student art contest painting of police-community relations in Ferguson, Missouri, that depicts police officers as animals.
A Huffington Post reporter first tweeted a photograph of the empty space and said that Hunter removed it.
Hunter took it upon himself to take down the painting, Washington Republican Rep. Dave Reichert’s office later confirmed. It was sponsored by Missouri Democratic Rep. William Lacy Clay, who had defended it.
Reichert, who spent 33 years in law enforcement, had criticized the artwork earlier, and gave Hunter a phone call on Friday after finding out about the removal.
Visitors stopped by the area where the painting had hung in the tunnel between the Capitol and the Cannon House Office Building on Friday. Several were seen pointing to the empty spot.
Neither Clay nor Hunter have returned requests for comment.
The painting, “Untitled #1,” has been hanging in the Cannon tunnel for months and was supposed to remain until the summer.
The artist is former St. Louis high school student David Pulphus, who depicted his vision of Ferguson’s tense police-community relations.
Lindsey McPherson contributed to this report.