LITTLE ROCK, AR (KARZ) – A newly installed Ten Commandments monument was destroyed less than 24 hours after it was put into place on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol. Michael Reed, 32, of Van Buren has been arrested in the incident.
Initial video from the scene showed crews assessing the damage which appeared extensive.
Arkansas State Sen. Jason Rapert (R-Conway), who led the efforts to get the monument placed on the capitol grounds, issued this statement on its destruction:
“This act of violence against the people of Arkansas will not stop us from fulfilling the law. The monument will be rebuilt and will stand at the Arkansas State Capitol.”.
“The Arkansas Society of Freethinkers does not condone acts of vandalism for any reason. When public officials violate the Constitution by erecting religious monuments on public property, the legal system, not vigilantes, must remove those monuments,” read an emailed statement from the group. “We fully expect the Ten Commandments monument will be removed permanently from the Arkansas State Capitol grounds by a court order.”When the monument was erected on Tuesday, Rapert had said, “This law was passed April 7th of 2015. The Arkansas Ten Commandments Monument Act 1231. For me, I’m grateful to the Arkansas Legislature and Governor Asa Hutchinson for making this possible.”
“My immediate response is one in which I want to be clear that we do not celebrate the monument’s destruction or vandalism. Ultimately, it will come down, but it can and should be done by the proper legal process,” said Lucien Greaves (Satanic Temple) in a statement Wednesday. “I also want to stress that the man who did this, while clearly mentally ill, is also a self-described born again “Jesus Freak.” When he did the same thing in Oklahoma, the politicians there attempted to describe him as a Satanist. I want it to be clear that while we do not celebrate what he has done, he clearly also does not align himself with us either.”
When the monument was erected on Tuesday, Rapert had said, “This law was passed April 7th of 2015. The Arkansas Ten Commandments Monument Act 1231. For me, I’m grateful to the Arkansas Legislature and Governor Asa Hutchinson for making this possible.”
“I’m appalled that they’ve actually gone through with it,” said LeeWood Thomas on Tuesday, adding that this goes against our First Amendment, the separation of church and state.
“To see elected government officials go through with the erection of a religious monument on our capitol lawn is appalling,” he continued.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) told us Tuesday morning the group has plans to file a lawsuit in hopes of getting the monument taken down.
Lucien Greaves with the Satanic Temple said his group will also be filing a lawsuit against the monument.