LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — An Arkansas man who destroyed a newly-installed Ten Commandments monument last month is now facing a felony charge that carries a penalty of three to ten years in prison.
Michael Tate Reed, 32, has been officially charged with first-degree criminal mischief and is currently incarcerated on $100,000 bond. He told the Arkansas Times from jail earlier this month that he has been diagnosed with mental illnesses that include schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, although he personally doesn’t believe he is “mentally insane.”
“I meant to do it, fully well,” he told the outlet, referring to ramming the Decalogue with his vehicle on June 28. “I did it because I fully believe I’m the rider on the first white horse in Revelations.”
As previously reported, while Reed identifies himself as a Christian and a “Pentecostal Jesus freak” on his Facebook page, some of his posts are obscure and confuddled, and followers have urged him to get help in observing his mental health struggles.
“If tonight doesn’t go down like I’ve seen and been told, I promise I will go to Valley hospital and have them court order me on meds,” he wrote the night before the incident.
Reed also posted a video stating that while he believes that men should “obey the commands of God,” he is a proponent of the “separation of church and state” and feels that “[t]here’s no one religion government should support.”
He spoke of what he called “white plans,” and advised that he would need another car after he carried through his plot to destroy the monument.
At approximately 5 a.m. the following morning, Reed recorded himself destroying the monument under the cover of darkness, driving his car into the decalogue and yelling “freedom!”
According to the Arkansas Times, after being arrested, he requested to go to the St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center for a psychiatric evaluation, but was not fully examined. He further told officials while in jail that he was hearing voices and was consequently placed in a straight jacket and put on suicide watch.
His Facebook page includes a post from an unidentified acquaintance who expressed concern about his safety behind bars.
“Michael Reed has been put in general population in Pulaski County Jail by Judge Wayne Gruber despite him being medicated with lithium for his mental illness. Judge Wayne Gruber is essentially endangering the life and safety of a mentally ill person ‘to cure him of his mental illness,'” the post reads.
“The $100,000 bond is not justified for the offense of property damage Michael committed. This judge has ensured that a mentally ill man who has never raised his hand or heart in anger to another living being is subjected to violence just to try to make an example out of him,” it continues. “He has already been threatened and fears for his safety.”
Reed had likewise knocked down a Ten Commandments monument in 2014, but was not charged in the matter as he rather obtained mental health treatment.
The felony charge that was officially filed this week is updated from the original charges that included defacing objects of public interest and criminal trespass.
Funds are currently being raised to replace the monument, with the Christian film company Pure Flix donating $25,000 toward the effort.