LITTLE ROCK (CN) – A man who destroyed a controversial Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma Capitol with his car three years ago did the same thing Wednesday to a similar monument at the Arkansas Capitol.
Michael Tate Reed, 32, of Van Buren, was arrested before dawn after smashing his car into a newly placed Ten Commandments monument that had been installed at the Arkansas Capitol the day before. The privately funded stone monument was knocked down and smashed into several pieces.
Reed is charged with defacing objects of public interest, criminal trespass and first-degree criminal mischief. He was to be arraigned Thursday morning, according to Pulaski County officials.
Authorities believe Reed streamed a live video of the collision on his Facebook page. A male voice can be heard exclaiming, “My goodness, freedom!” before the car accelerates and smashes into the monument.
Oklahoma County sheriff’s spokesman Mark Opgrande told The Associated Press that Reed was arrested in October 2014 for doing the same thing at the Oklahoma Capitol.
Reed reportedly said at the time that he was directed by Satan to urinate on and destroy the monument. Authorities arrested Reed for allegedly threatening to kill President Barack Obama at the Oklahoma City federal building.
Despite opposition to the Oklahoma monument, by the ACLU and others, monument opponents roundly denounced the “desecration” of the monument by “vandals.” ACLU of Arkansas Rita Sklar denounced the destruction of the Arkansas monument on Wednesday.
“We strongly condemn any illegal act of destruction or vandalism,” Sklar said in a statement. “The ACLU remains committed to seeing this unconstitutional monument struck down by the courts and safely removed through legal means.”
Reed apologized for destroying the Oklahoma monument in 2015, telling the Tulsa World newspaper that he suffered from mental health issues and “wished I could take it all back.”
Oklahoma County officials declined to pursue charges against Reed, opting to place him in a mental health facility for several months instead. His family reportedly had him transferred to a mental health facility in Arkansas.