By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor
This month we revealed the artwork of Leonard Pelteir, who was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment for the 1975 murder of FBI agents Jack Coler and Ron Williams, was being displayed at the Washington Department of Labor and industries during a Native American art and culture event. After the article, KING-5 News broadcast a news segment concerning the controversy which led to the immediate removal of the art.
The artwork in question has found a new home for its display and promotion.
I first reported the unsettling situation where a government agency was promoting the art of this convicted cop killer, which was only certain to generate controversy in the Law Enforcement Community along with the families of those who have lost their loved ones. The State of Washington sponsored a convicted murderer’s artwork and provided free advertisements toward its purchase. I view this as highly unethical and a strong conflict of interest. The State of Washington should not be in the business of helping convicted cop killers profit while in prison. It is an insult to the families of agents Coler and Williams and those who have served in the profession.
The great irony of this affair is that the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries is the agency charged with paying benefits to police officers injured on the job and to also administer the Washington State Crime Victim’s Compensation Fund.
A grocery store in Olympia Washington is now hosting and promoting the art for its customers to reflect on its artistic merits as well as voicing activism supportive of the Free Leonard Peltier cause. This is a private co-op market and not a government agency. From its website the Olympia Food Co-op shows the four paintings from the Labor and Industries display and announced that they are proud to be host of Mr. Peltier’s artwork through November and invited others see his “beautiful works.”
Since this grocery store is a private company and not a government agency it likely will generate less controversy from the Law Enforcement Community than did the L&I display.
By Darren Smith
Source: Olympia Food Co-Op
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.