Motorist Rams Ten Commandments Monument at Arkansas Capitol

29 Jun

Motorist Rams Ten Commandments Monument at Arkansas Capitol

Less than a day after a monument of the Ten Commandments was installed outside the Arkansas Capitol, it was destroyed.

Authorities said Michael Reed drove his car into the nearly 6,600-pound (3,000-kilogram) granite slab shortly before 5 a.m. Wednesday.

A video that appeared to have been taken from inside the car was posted on Facebook by an account in the name of Michael Reed at about the same time.

In the video, the sky is dark and the capitol’s dome is visible. Music is heard, followed by a female voice, likely on the radio, saying, “Where do you go when you’re faced with adversity and trials and challenges?” The driver is then heard growling, “Oh, my goodness. Freedom!” before accelerating into the monument.

The vehicle’s speedometer is last shown at 20 miles per hour (33 kph), and then a collision can be heard.

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

Arkansas’ granite monument was installed Tuesday on the southwest lawn of the capitol grounds with little fanfare and no advance notice. A law passed in 2015 required the state to allow the display, and a state panel last month gave final approval to its design and location.

“Obviously, I’m very disappointed that someone would carry out an act of violence that’s actually against the people of Arkansas,” said Senator Jason Rapert, the state lawmaker who led the push for the monument.

Rapert, a Republican, said he was confident he could quickly raise funds for a replacement.

Reed was arrested in 2014 for driving a car into a Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma Capitol, a sheriff’s spokesman there told The Associated Press. Reed was admitted to a hospital for mental treatment and was not formally charged at the time.

Reed, 32, was arrested in Little Rock, Arkansas, early Wednesday and booked on three charges, including defacing an object of public interest.