A driver plowed his vehicle into a 6-foot-tall Ten Commandments monument and knocked it over — less than 24 hours after it was installed Tuesday on the Arkansas Capitol grounds in Little Rock, officials told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.
The driver was identified as 32-year-old Michael Tate Reed, the paper said, citing a Capitol Police arrest report. Officials said Reed apparently livestreamed the act on Facebook, the Democrat-Gazette said.
— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) June 28, 2017
A Facebook Live video from a user named Michael Reed is shot from inside a vehicle when the driver shouts “Freedom!” and drives toward the monument. The clip ends after the vehicle hits the monument.
Another Facebook video posted early Wednesday is of a man calling himself Michael Reed who describes his beliefs in Christ as well as the separation of church and state, the paper said, adding that he spoke from a seat in a 2016 Dodge Dart.
“I’m a firm believer that part of salvation is that we not only have faith in Jesus Christ but we obey the commands of God and that we confess Jesus as Lord,” the man says in the video, the Democrat-Gazette reported. “But one thing I do not support is the violation of our constitutional right to have the freedom that’s guaranteed to us, that guarantees us the separation of church and state.”
The man said that there’s “no one religion” the government should represent, the paper said.
The arrest report said an officer saw a dark-colored vehicle “start from a stopped position and ram the Ten Commandments monument” around 4:45 a.m., the paper said.
“I immediately exited my vehicle and placed the subject in custody,” Cpl. Chad Durham wrote, the Democrat-Gazette reported, adding that Reed was taken to a hospital before being booked into jail.
Chris Powell, a spokesman with the Secretary of State’s Office, told the paper it was “absolutely” a shock to get the news.
“We had some concerns, just because this was such a highly charged issue with some people,” Powell told the Democrat-Gazette.
Reed faces charges of defacing objects of public respect, trespassing on Capitol grounds and first-degree criminal mischief, the paper said, citing the arrest report. He was being held without bail pending an initial court appearance, the Democrat-Gazette added.
More from the paper:
On Oct. 24, 2014, a then-29-year-old Michael Tate Reed was accused of ramming his truck into a Ten Commandments statue of a similar design at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City, the Tulsa World reported. Authorities said he also made threats against President Barack Obama, lit money on fire and walked into a federal building to spit on pictures, the paper reported.
Reed was reportedly diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder after being taken to a mental facility for evaluation following the crash. He was released from Norman’s Griffin Memorial Hospital in January 2015 under an agreement with the Oklahoma County district attorney’s office for continued treatment and therapy.
In an email to the newspaper, Reed reportedly said how voices in his head became his norm and apologized for running into the statue.
“I am so sorry that this all happening and wished I could take it all back,” Reed reportedly wrote, the Democrat-Gazette reported.
The Arkansas monument was paid for with more than $26,000 in private donations, the paper said.
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