WA State Department Of Labor And Industries To Remove Art By Convicted Cop Killer Leonard Peltier

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

wa-labor-n-industries-logoLast 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.


Leonard Peltier
Leonard Peltier

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.

Screen Capture of a KING5 News Video

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”

  1. Do you actually believe Matthiessen’s account, that Peltier did fire at the agents, did pick up their weapons after the massacre, but that “some other guy” drove up in another red pickup truck and did the coup de grace? Agent Williams’ fingers were blown off because he’d put his hand up in front of the gun as he was shot in the face.

    He claimed, “All the Indians who were there that day were warriors,” Matthiessen writes, “and the nameless figures in the pickup truck were no more guilty than [Peltier] and Dino and Leonard, because no Indian that day was guilty.”

    This sheds some light on Matthiessen’s perspective, because although he admitted that Peltier at least fired at the agents with his high powered rifle, and then stole their guns from their bodies, “no Indian that day was guilty.” This appears to support that he believed in the same Black Panther violence that the AIM strove to emulate. And he seems oblivious to the fact that Peltier, a Native American, was there specifically to terrorize other Native Americans. The AIM disagreed with the tribal council, and had brought Peltier, and others, in to terrorize the tribe into relinquishing control.

    He also dreamily proclaimed that a white jury found him guilty because they were racist and were traumatized by massacres 150 years ago, with zero evidence that was the case. In fact, white juries and acquitted Native Americans on other crimes, so how can they be racist with only one person?

    I would also like to add that his publisher pulled the book because of numerous libel suits.

    There was a second interview on 60 Minutes in which a shadowy Mr X claimed he took the final shots. However, the show did not record the tape itself, and did not vet any of the information. Dino Butler, one of the people who were actually involved, said “Well, there is no Mr. X,” he admitted to a reporter from NFIC. “Those are all lies.” He traced the origin of the Mr. X story to an AIM meeting that he had attended in California, where the idea was floated and rejected.

    Somehow, he claimed, the Mr. X scenario made its way to Stone and Matthiessen. “I lost a lot of respect for Peter Matthiessen as a writer and as a person I could trust,” he admitted, “because he didn’t verify this, and it put me and my family in jeopardy. He never made any effort to contact me and ask if this was true.””

    Mr X was just a story concocted to try to throw doubt on Peltier’s conviction, even though he confessed twice. His information in fact had no new information than was covered in Matthiessen’s own book. Although Matthiessen in fact got the murder site wrong, changing it to Wounded Knee for poetic reasons. He also claimed that Peltier had been acquitted on attempted murder charges, when in fact he’d jumped bail.

    This kind of journalistic malpractice is still playing out today. Over and over again, we find a media grown too lazy to ascertain the facts, and they feed a rumor mill of misinformation and outright lies.

    I also find similarities between Matthiessen and Rachel Dolezal. Both were successful white people who despised their own culture. While Dolezal went farthest, actually trying to pass herself off as African American, Matthiessen submerged himself in Native American culture, and sweat lodges, not merely out of enjoyment of the culture, but to feed a self hatred of his own. The entire premise of the Free Peltier campaign smacks of unapologetic racism. The “white man” is bad merely because of his own skin color, no “white jury” could possibly come up with a correct verdict for a Native American (except when, in fact, they do acquit), no Native American could possibly be guilty, because even if they did kill anyone that is OK if the victim is white, and ignored if the victim is another Native American.

  2. Bettykath:

    “It’s only the white man’s organizations that should decide what Native American art should be shown.”

    Ummmmm…what the heck are you talking about? Native American art is ubiquitous in the US. There are no shortage of galleries, university classes, and collectors.

    His race has absolutely nothing to do with the objection, and I find it a stretch to even introduce it. The objection is that he is a convicted cop killer, his appeals process was dismissed, his admitted to the crime twice , the victims’ cars looked like Swiss cheese so it was hardly an accident, and the venue was the Department of Labor.

    You must be cautious if you base your arguments on race.

  3. Actually, Darren’s complaint and the capitulation by the agency is par for the course. It’s only the white man’s organizations that should decide what Native American art should be shown. It’s a continuation of this countries oppression of minorities, in this case the minority was created by massacring those who were the majority.

  4. beakie, bettykath is the sister of all downtrodden minorities. It’s her cross to bear, bless her heart.

  5. Karen, Peltier thought Agents Coler and Williams were there to serve an attempted murder arrest warrant from Wisconsin, where he was accused of trying to kill a Milwaukee cop.

  6. BettyKath you are his sister aren’t you? There are none so blind as those who will not see. And the evil just goes on and on.

  7. Peltier was hardly a folk hero. He was the leader of a group that burglarized other Native Americans on reservations. Plus he was wanted for attempted murder of a police officer.

    I have not read anything that made me believe he was an innocent man, not least of which was his two confessions, one of which on 60 Minutes . And if there was exonerating evidence, then we have an appeals process.

    This is a questionable choice for a hero.

  8. To put this into perspective, I suppose there might be some interest in the artwork of Nazis, for the art’s sake, or for Holocaust Deniers, but I sincerely doubt the Simon Wiesenthal Center would host such an exhibit.

  9. No, Peltier was actually not a member of the Pine Ridge Reservation. From the FBI link above:

    “Neither Leonard Peltier nor members of his group of associates were from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. Testimony stated that Peltier and the others in his group came to the reservation at the request of AIM (American Indian Movement) leaders following an AIM convention in Farmington, New Mexico.”

  10. Peltier admitted on multiple occasions to shooting these two FBI agents. Arguments that he did not receive a fair trial have gone through the appeals process to the Supreme Court, and been dismissed.



    It appears that you played an instrumental role in getting this display removed, and I applaud your efforts. It is inappropriate in the extreme for a government agency to use taxpayer dollars to give a felon convicted of killing two FBI agents a free art show.

    If private individuals want to do so, so be it. But it was very poor judgement for government to waste our money to showcase a murderer.

  11. What DBQ said. I would only add that Amnesty International has no credibility with me when it comes to American jurisprudence. They have their own set of standards and principles, and IMHO truth and fact give way against their opposition to what they view as harsh punishments.

  12. Many people here are worked up over the idea that a man who’s been imprisoned for forty years (40) for murder is using his time to develop humane and peaceful skills during his incarceration

    @ madams12

    I think the issue is not so much that he has developed a hobby, painting, but that he is PROFITING by it and that the State is acting as his agent in helping him profit. Not quite as bad as making a profit by writing a book about the crimes you have committed, but making money by selling his artwork with the help of the State and by default the taxpayers of the State.

    I don’t think you could stop him from selling his artwork and I don’t know that we should. But ……That the State is helping him create this profit is the main bone of contention. If the State is helping him become rich then perhaps some of those funds should be used to offset the costs of his incarceration.

    So whilst everyone is upset about a Native American who was part of a revolutionary movement in the 60

    Many people were part of movements in the 60’s and didn’t murder other people. I’m not about to retry this case since it went through a court action AND an appeal, so don’t bother getting into the mantra ….I’ll just ignore it. You are wasting your time.

  13. Many people here are worked up over the idea that a man who’s been imprisoned for forty years (40) for murder is using his time to develop humane and peaceful skills during his incarceration. That doesn’t erase whatever crime he was charged with. HOWEVER, if we are going to be worked up why isn’t ANYONE talking about the SOB who SOLD highly CLASSIFIED US NAVY TOP SECRET DOCS by the THOUSANDS…SOLD for money so he & his wife could live a fancy life….and was sentenced to LIFE with no parole as written by then SecDefense Cap Weinberger in a sealed letter to the Judge!! but now we learn that that POZSOB is going to be set FREE in a few more weeks!! that was a reason why Netanyahu went to Washington DC this week to meet with Obama to assure that SPY is released to him! They were his ‘handlers’…you know our BFFs!!
    So whilst everyone is upset about a Native American who was part of a revolutionary movement in the 60s…and remains behind bars….NO ONE even mentions this rotten spy who sold American code books, and other documents that continue to put US Navy in jeapordy. RULE OF LAW? should be equal across the boards. Pollard did it for the money.

  14. I find that drunks wont stay around a bar table with nothing. Hard liquor is usually a minimum.

  15. Being from another Planet I do not quite understand or appreciate “art”. But the French guy who might wear a headress if he ever leaves prison might consider going back to the reservation and do some art work there. The topic of the day tomorrow might be the new world war which was launched the past month when the Russian plane went down with a bang and the terrorists banged into Paris.
    I looked up that guy on Fox who calls himself Geraldo Rivera and our intelligence shows he used to go by the name Jerry Rivers. He was a volunteer of sorts lawyer for a program called Reggie back in the late 60s or so. He is flying off to Paris to try to convince his daughter to leave the school program and go back to Chicago. He is an interesting fellow. We hope all goes well. Paris needs an enema.

  16. Well done Darren. As long as this POS has been through the legal process and remains behind bars, he should not have this sort of privilege and he damn sure should have no right to profit from the crime he is convicted of committing.

  17. It is a good thing Leonard was not back on Frog soil because the ISIS guys would have shot him dead.
    I think that a few so called nation states in europe will now venture into their former colonies and try to wipe out ISIS. We need dictators in the muddle east. The Frogs might need one now. Someone related to Marshal Petain perhaps. He knew how to round up gypsies and Jewish humans and ship em off. Maybe the Vichy Party needs to rear its ugly rear again in Frogland. Y’all remember that tidbit of history don’t you? We sort of let it slide after WWII because we did not want the Frogs to go left and become Communist. So Charles deGaulle became the new Emperor.
    Doctors without borders will have to cross real borders again within the Euro Community and have to show passports and whatnot. Each euro so called nation state needs borders and walls again. That is especially true to all that border on Greece. France needs a navy too. They need to stop the refuges when they leave shore in N. Africa and the muddle east. Sink em or make em go right back to shore. Make the pirates who bring the so called refugees out to sea walk the plank. We are in a new world war. Var ich Hell. The terrorists will be around until Hell freezes over. There ain’t room enough down there for all of em. Some of em are up on Cloud Nine right now reading this email so be careful out there. All from here, Howard DeMere. Who was Howard? Anyone know?

  18. Darren

    Thank you for raising this issue and alerting others as to the obscene tribute, on government property, no less, to a murderer of two police officers. The feigned response of ignorance, pertaining to the agency’s role in attempting to further this subhuman’s profile and cause, is laughable. These bureaucrats have no shame as they encourage us to disbelieve our lyin’ eyes. I’m quite sure that your efforts played a pivotal role in helping to right this wrong, and you deserve a great deal of praise. Thank you, again.

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