A six-foot statue of the Ten Commandments installed in front of the Arkansas State Capitol building was destroyed this week after a man drove his vehicle into the structure and shattered it across the Capitol's lawn.
Michael Tate Reed, 32, was spotted on the Arkansas Capitol grounds after a call came in saying someone had destroyed the monument.
Authorities have yet to disclose outright that Tate was indeed the driver, but the evidence in mounting.
Reed posted a live video to his Facebook page of what looks like him ramming his car into the statue, according to officials. In the police report, a call was made around 4:45 a.m. to alert authorities of the criminal act. It was said that a dark colored vehicle seemed to seemingly “start from a stopped position and ram the Ten Commandments monument.”
Corporal Chad Durham, the arresting officer said, “I immediately exited my vehicle and placed the subject in custody,” noting that Reed had been taken to the hospital before being jailed around the time of 7:30 a.m. His charges include defacing objects of public interest, criminal trespassing on Capitol grounds, and first-degree criminal mischief, according to CBS station THV11.
It turns out that Mr. Reed committed a similar crime just a few years ago, when Channel 5 News reported that a monument of the Ten Commandments had been demolished in Oklahoma. The Washington Post confirmed that the person responsible was, in fact, Michael Tate Reed.
Mark Opgrande, an Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office spokesman, told the Associated Press that Reed was arrested in October 2014 for the destruction of Oklahoma’s Ten Commandments monument at the state capitol. After the arrest, Reed was admitted the next day to a hospital for mental treatment, and formal charges were never filed.
Republican Sen. Jason Rapert, the state lawmaker who helped put the monument up said “Obviously, I’m very disappointed that someone would carry out an act of violence that’s actually against the people of Arkansas."
"You have to understand that this is someone who on a premeditated basis came to carry out an act of violence against the state,” he added.
Rapert also said he would work quickly to raise money to replace the monument. An official from the American History and Heritage Foundation said it has already ordered a replacement, which will take a few months to be built.
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