TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Dec. 24 (UPI) -- A woman wearing a "Catholic Warrior" T-shirt was arrested on accusations of damaging the Satanic Temple's holiday display in the Florida Capitol, police said.
Authorities said Susan Hemeryck, 54, a Tea Party activist, told a pair of Florida Department of Law Enforcement Capitol Police officers she was "sorry and had to take down the Satanic display" about 11:30 a.m. Tuesday because it was "not right."
Police said the officers told Hemeryck not to remove the Satanic Temple's "Happy Holidays" display, and she responded by saying she "could not take it anymore" and started ripping the display apart.
The Satanic Temple's display depicts an angel falling into a pit of fire. It was rejected by officials last year for being "grossly offensive," but was allowed this year after the Americans United for Separation of Church and State group threatened legal action.
"This act of mindless vandalism should be condemned by all decent people and all those who support true freedom of religion. It's important to remember that free speech in an open forum is for all groups, even those whose message some deem controversial or unpopular," Americans United for Separation of Church and State said in a statement.
Hemeryck, who was wearing a "Catholic Warrior" T-shirt at the time of her arrest, was charged with criminal mischief and released without bail.
Satanic Temple spokesman Lucien Greaves told the Miami Herald the group may leave the display as is.
"Even if it wasn't fixable I would be for leaving the smashed remains there for the rest of the time as a testament to the intolerance of some people," Greaves said.