LITTLE ROCK — A $100,000 bond was set Thursday for a Van Buren man accused of destroying a Ten Commandments monument on state Capitol grounds less than 24 hours after it was installed.
Also Thursday, the state legislator who led the push for the monument said the makers of the movie “God’s Not Dead 2,” which was filmed in Little Rock, have offered to help pay to replace the 6-foot-tall granite marker.
Michael Tate Reed II, 32, made an initial court appearance a day after allegedly driving his car into the monument. Pulaski County District Judge Wayne Gruber set Reed’s bond and ordered him to appear in court again Sept. 7.
In a Facebook video posted just before the 4:47 a.m. incident, Reed made a statement in support of separation of church and state. A Facebook live video on Reed’s page appears to have been taken from a vehicle driving into the monument.
Reed was previously arrested in October 2014 after driving a truck into a Ten Commandments monument at the Oklahoma state Capitol. He was admitted to a hospital for mental treatment and later released to the care of his mother in Fort Smith, according to the Tulsa World. He was not criminally prosecuted in connection with that incident.
In 2015, the Arkansas Legislature and Gov. Asa Hutchinson approved legislation by Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, requiring the state to allow a Ten Commandments monument to be installed on Capitol grounds at private expense.
The American Heritage and History Foundation, which Rapert founded, paid for the monument through a fund drive that raised over $26,000. The monument was installed Tuesday morning.
Rapert said Thursday the foundation has received pledges totaling more than $25,000 to help replace the monument and possibly place posts around it to prevent it from being driven into again. Also, he said an executive with the Arizona-based Christian film company Pure Flix contacted him and offered to pay for any costs not covered by other donations.
A day earlier, Rapert announced that the foundation had already ordered a replacement monument.
Asked what the foundation would do if donations exceed the replacement costs, Rapert said that is yet to be determined, but he said the foundation is interested in placing monuments honoring the Ten Commandments and the motto “In God we trust” in other cities across the country.
Rapert said he had learned no new details about whether Reed has car insurance that could be required to pay a claim to the state. Chris Powell, spokesman for Secretary of State Mark Martin, said that is “something we are looking at.”
Rapert also said it may be possible to sue Reed under a 2013 state law, known as Andy’s Law, that allows victims of terrorism to sue the perpetrators. He said he was not sure whether Reed would fit the definition of a terrorist, but he said he has been told that Reed made threatening statements in the past and that some of those statements were reported to the FBI.
The Tulsa World reported that Reed threatened former President Barack Obama.
“This is a guy that is a danger to society, and we are very, very fortunate that he did not hurt somebody,” he said.