Destroyed monuments in Arkansas (courtesy to KATV)
CAIRO – 1 July 2017: U.S. citizen Michael Tate Reed who stands accused of destroying a Ten Commandments monument was arrested Wednesday by police in the southern state of Arkansas, U.S., according to the Associated Press news agency.
Reed was captured on video smashing into the Arkansas Capitol dome with his car in the state capital of Little Rock. Accused of several crimes, Reed has been charged with criminal trespass, first-degree criminal mischief and defacing objects of public interest. Reed claims that he felt “free” when destroying the Biblically-inspired artistic installation.
The charges were based on defacing the three-ton granite monument that has been recently erected in Little Rock. Following the crash, pieces of the installation were recovered to be reformed in storage while a replacement is ordered for it, according to The Washington Post newspaper.
According to the Associated Press, a recently established law in 2015 in Arkansas stated that a monument commemorating the Ten Commandments is to be displayed near the Capitol. The display was criticized by groups who believe that the separation between state and church should be more explicit and objected to the placement of a biblical statue on state-owned lands.
Reed has also previously caused intentional damage to a similar Ten Commandments display in Oklahoma with his car in 2014, where a 4,800-pound monument was erected in the capitol grounds in Oklahoma City in 2012. The state Supreme Court later ordered its removal.