By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
Last week I featured an article describing how the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries engaged in promoting and displaying the artwork of imprisoned capital murderer Leonard Peltier at its headquarters. The article and enquiries I made to various law enforcement officials and the former FBI Agent’s Association generated a considerable backlash against the agency for its actions.
On Friday I met with KING-5 News reporter Drew Mikkelson and Former FBI Agent Ray Lauer representing the Seattle Chapter of the Retired FBI Agent’s Association at the behest of its national headquarters, for interviews on this controversy. The story was featured on the medium’s 6:30 broadcast.
Leonard Peltier was convicted of two counts of murder in the deaths of FBI Agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams, both twenty-eight years old at the time. On the fortieth anniversary year of the deaths, Labor and Industries hosted the artwork of Leonard Peltier which sparked outrage among former FBI agents, the law enforcement community, and family members of the deceased agents.
In an interview, L&I’s spokesman Tim Church explained that his agency did not intend to further Peltier’s cause by displaying his art, yet his agency did just that by its promotion. The Washington agency further claimed that his paintings were part of the Native American contribution to the art during a Native American Heritage Month celebration. The agency was displaying a selection of other works, however displayed Mr. Peltier’s art more prominently in the main rotunda of the headquarters next to the main entrance. Moreover the government provided flyers and cards attached to the paintings directing the viewer on how to contact the gallery. Though I saw and photographed these promotional materials during my first visit to the headquarters, the department removed these prior to our arrival for the interviews.
Labor and Industries proffers that as a result of public sentiment expressed to it via a “few individuals” who voiced their objection to the art, it reportedly was going to “rotate out” Mr. Peltier’s paintings next week. At first the agency claimed that they would normally have been rotated out after a two week display, however the promotional flyer and agency’s website indicated they would be displayed from the second of this month until the thirtieth. At any rate the agency stated it would remove the paintings next week.
Mr. Lauer in his interview expressed his organization’s outrage that the State of Washington hosted the artwork of the murderer using taxpayer funds and facilities, to provide a free gallery for an imprisoned cop killer.
Here is a link to the KING-5 News Broadcast. Click on the below image to watch.
By Darren Smith
Video Source: KING-5 News
The views expressed in this posting are the author’s alone and not those of the blog, the host, or other weekend bloggers. As an open forum, weekend bloggers post independently without pre-approval or review. Content and any displays or art are solely their decision and responsibility.
45 thoughts on “WA State Department Of Labor And Industries To Remove Art By Convicted Cop Killer Leonard Peltier”
Bam Bam: Thanks
The facts surrounding Peltier, no matter how damning they may be, fall upon deaf ears when it comes to people like Bettykath. If Jesus Christ, himself, paid her a visit and personally attested to Peltier’s guilt, she and her ilk would continue to point to the white man’s oppression as the reason for his incarceration. No amount of facts, first hand accounts, trials, etc., really matter. You are engaging in an exercise in futility with your well-researched and well-written comments, as certain people will, inexplicably, suddenly try to divert attention from the subject at hand by referencing how only the oppressive white man decides who will display American Indian art. Ludicrous. Imagine a nut like this on a jury.
Leonard Peltier tried to pressure other Native Americans not to “rat” him out. Unfortunately, his followers’ conspiracy theories mean that anyone who was part of the AIM, or in that area, still have no peace, and are still hounded.
Here is an editorial on how his story unraveled. Peltier was a real villain against other Native Americans, as well as the FBI agents.
“Editors Note: Many of our readers will remember the 20+ or so years of support NFIC gave to Leonard Peltier and other AIM myths before our investigative work with the late Richard LaCourse and other Native journalists turned up numerous changing alibis, evidence of additional murders, and convincing recorded interviews about Peltier interrogating Annie Mae Pictou Aquash by putting a gun in her mouth and bragging about shooting FBI agent Ron Williams. In recent years Peltier has also chosen to utilize his lobbying efforts in support of attempts to keep John Boy Patton Graham from going to trail in the alleged execution of Annie Mae, writing to Denise and Debbie Pictou Maloney to tell them that he would not lift a finger to assist in finding justice for their mother if it meant another brother would go to jail.”
Bettykath, it appears that this man you so admire allegedly put a gun in a woman’s mouth in order to terrorize her, while bragging about the murder. I disagree with your opinion of him, as I believe men like that belong in jail, and that the race of his victims is immaterial.
The editor of News From Indian Country said, “After many years of supporting and advocating clemency for Leonard Peltier,” he writes, “the News From Indian Country editorial staff no longer believes Leonard Peltier is innocent of shooting the agents at close range as he has so often proclaimed.”
DeMain had invested twenty-seven years in the case. He had read every document there was to read and interviewed every witness there was to interview. He acknowledged that he and his colleagues would have come to this damning conclusion sooner were it not for the “lies, deceptions, smoke and mirrors. Part of a charade.”
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