Wed | Dec 13, 2017

Man destroys new Ten Commandments statue at Arkansas Capitol

Published:Thursday | June 29, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Personnel from the Secretary of State's office inspect the damage to the new Ten Commandments monument outside the state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark., yesterday, after someone crashed into it with a vehicle, less than 24 hours after the privately funded monument was installed on the Capitol grounds.

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (AP):

A man yelled "Freedom!" as he crashed his vehicle into Arkansas' new Ten Commandments monument early yesterday, nearly three years after he was arrested in the destruction of Oklahoma's monument at its state Capitol, authorities said.

The privately funded Arkansas monument had been in place outside the state Capitol in Little Rock for less than 24 hours before it was knocked from its plinth and smashed to pieces.

Michael Tate Reed, 32, of Van Buren, Arkansas, was booked in the Pulaski County jail shortly after 7:30 a.m. on preliminary charges of defacing objects of public interest, criminal trespass and first-degree criminal mischief. An arrest report lists his occupation as "unemployed/disabled".

Authorities did not know whether he had an attorney who could speak on his behalf, and a video arraignment was set for this morning, a Pulaski County sheriff's spokesman said.

Arkansas Secretary of State's Office spokesman Chris Powell said officials believe a Facebook Live video posted on a Michael Reed's Facebook account that depicted the destruction is authentic.

In the video, the sky is dark and the Arkansas Capitol's dome is visible. Music is heard followed by a female voice, likely on the radio, saying, "Where do you go when you're faced with adversity and trials and challenges?" The driver is then heard growling, "Oh my goodness. Freedom!" before accelerating into the monument. The vehicle's speedometer is last shown at 21 mph (33 kph) and then a collision can be heard.

Oklahoma County Sheriff's spokesman Mark Opgrande told The Associated Press yesterday that Reed was arrested in October 2014 in the destruction of Oklahoma's Ten Commandments monument at the state Capitol. Opgrande confirmed that the suspect arrested in Arkansas was the same person arrested in the Oklahoma case.