Groups condemn destruction of 10 Commandments statue
LITTLE ROCK — Less than 24 hours after being placed, the brand new 10 Commandments monument came crashing down after a driver plowed into them just before sunrise on Wednesday.
The driver, 32-year-old Michael Reed, streamed the entire thing live on Facebook before surrendering to police, THV11 reported.
“Cause no one religion should, um, should the government represent,” he said.
The monument was the brainchild of State Senator Jason Rapert, who held a press conference this morning after Reed was arrested.
“What culpability do some of these groups have when they threaten to tear down the monument? The ACLU, the Freethinkers Society, the Satanic Temple. I’ve seen 24-48 hours of threats. They’re going to promise to take it down. What culpability do they have to hold their rhetoric down? And not stir and fulment hatred and violence that will get unstable people to do what’s done here?”
For years, Senator Rapert has led the push to place the monument on the Arkansas State Capitol grounds.
“It was put in place to honor the historical moral foundation of law.”
However, it has been met with controversy.
“We believe it serves all citizens best when our government stays out of religious view points and leaves it to the individual,” said LeeWood Thomas with the Arkansas Society of Freethinkers.
The organization is one that has been pushing for the monument to come down, but quickly added that process should not have involved violence of any kind.
“We wanted to go through the court system and have it legally brought down in a civil fashion. This gentleman decided to act on his own and remove it through his own way, through vandalism and breaking the law.”
Even the Satanic Temple — a group that proposed building a demonic monument in response to the 10 Commandments one — condemned Reed’s actions.
Senator Rapert said he is concerned the incident symbolizes a larger fracture in our society.
“Where people take up violence against each other simply because they have a disagreement.”
According to KFSM, Reed has a history of defacing monuments.
In 2014, he was charged with destruction of state property, indecent exposure, making threatening statements, reckless driving and operating a vehicle without a license after destroying a 10 Commandments statue in Oklahoma.
Court records show Reed was “found to a threat to himself and others and mentally ill.”
He was sent to a mental health facility and never criminally charged.
“I am so sorry that this [is] all happening and I wished I could take it all back,” Reed told the Tulsa World in 2015.
He went on to say he had a psychotic break inspired by a Dracula film and the he was “the incarnation of an occult leader.”
At one time, Reed even tried getting in touch with “Lucifer’s high priestess he called Gwyneth Paltrow.”
In the most recent case, he was charged with defacing an object of public interest, criminal trespassing and first-degree criminal mischief.