Man rams car into Ten Commandments statue in Arkansas

By Allen Cone  |  June 28, 2017 at 1:05 PM
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June 28 (UPI) -- Arkansas state officials said a man drove his car into a 6-foot-tall statue of the Ten Commandments in Little Rock on Wednesday morning, less than 24 hours after the monument was installed on state Capitol grounds.

Capitol police arrested Michael Tate Reed, 32, of Van Buren, Ark., said Secretary of State's Office spokesman Chris Powell.

Less than four years ago, the man rammed his truck into a Ten Commandments statue of a similar design at the Oklahoma state Capitol in Oklahoma City.

In Arkansas, an officer around 4:45 a.m. spotted a dark-colored vehicle "start from a stopped position and ram the Ten Commandments monument," a police report said.

The man was filming on his cellphone and posting it on Facebook Live.

In the video, the Arkansas Capitol's dome is visible and music is heard. The driver is heard saying, "Oh my goodness. Freedom!" before accelerating into the monument. The vehicle's speedometer is last shown at 21 mph and then a collision can be heard.

The monument broke into multiple pieces as it hit the ground.

"As far as what happens to the monument, it's unclear at this time," Powell said. "The first thing will be to clean up the debris."

Reed was booked into Pulaski County jail shortly after 7:30 a.m. Wednesday on preliminary charges of defacing objects of public interest, criminal trespass and first-degree criminal mischief.

The privately funded monument, which weighed 6,000 pounds, was installed Tuesday morning on the southwest lawn of the Capitol. A 2015 law required the state to allow the display near the Capitol.

On Oct. 24, 2014, in Oklahoma City, Reed had made threats against President Barack Obama, set money on fire and walked into a federal building to spit on pictures.

He was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder after being taken to a mental facility for evaluation following the crash. He was released in January 2015 under an agreement with the Oklahoma County district attorney's office for continued treatment and therapy.

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