A man was arrested Wednesday morning for driving his vehicle into the Ten Commandments monument on the grounds of the Arkansas State Capitol and smashing it to pieces less than 24 hours after the six-foot granite statue was installed.
A spokesman for the Arkansas Secretary of State's Office, Chris Powell, said capitol police arrested a male suspect, who Pulaski County jail records identified as Michael Tate Reed, 32, of Van Buren, Ark., the Associated Press reported.
Reed faces preliminary charges of defacing objects of public interest, criminal trespassing, and first-degree criminal mischief. The Ten Commandments statue fell to the ground and broke into several pieces after it was hit by the car.
The 6,000-pound monument, which was privately funded, was installed without ceremony Tuesday morning on the southwest lawn of the Capitol in Little Rock.
A law in 2015 mandated that the state allow the monument to be displayed near the Capitol. The Ten Commandments Monument Display Act required the secretary of state to permit and arrange for the statue. Last month, a state panel gave final approval to its design and location.
Another Ten Commandments monument was destroyed nearly three years ago at Oklahoma's Capitol, the AP noted. A driver crashed his car into the statue and shattered it. That driver, identified as Michael Tate Reed of Van Buren, Ark., was admitted the next day to a hospital for mental treatment and formal charges were never filed.
It is unclear at this time if he is the same person who targeted the Arkansas monument.