Democratic, Republican congressmen feud over Capitol painting

Democratic lawmakers are feuding with Republicans over a painting that is on display in the Capitol Building. The clash began last week after some GOP members criticized the artwork as discriminatory towards police.

Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-Missouri, filed a report against Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, on Tuesday after Hunter personally unscrewed the painting from the Cannon tunnel, arguing that its depiction of police as pigs in the picture was anti-police.

Related: Social reactions to the controversial Capitol painting

Clay was joined by members of the Congressional Black Caucus in pressing theft charges against Hunter after removing the artwork on Friday.

"He had no right to take that picture down," Clay told the Washington Post. "It's thievery."

"The rehanging of this painting for public view represents more than just protecting the rights of a student artist, it is a proud statement in defense of the 1st Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which guarantees freedom of expression to every American," the CBC said in a press statement.

SEE ALSO: Salem State University cancels art exhibit featuring KKK painting

The painting, created by high school student David Pulphus, earned its spot in the Capitol earlier this year after winning Clay's congressional art competition. However, neither Clay nor other U.S. representatives participated in the approval of the artwork, which was judged by an panel of art professionals.

"As it came down -- it can go back up," Hunter's chief of staff Joe Kasper stated in a email sent on Friday. "There's nothing appropriate about a painting that depicts police officers at pigs. Representative Hunter removed the painting and returned it."

The controversial painting was removed later on Tuesday by Rep. Doug Lamron, R-Wisonsin, who reportedly stated, "It doesn't belong here."

As of now, the painting has been restored to its post in the Cannon tunnel.

Related: Images of the Capitol through history