A new Ten Commandments monument will likely be placed at the Arkansas State Capitol in April. It’s a replacement for one destroyed last June, less than 24 hours after it was unveiled, by a driver who intentionally crashed his car into it.
Chris Powell, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, says they’ve decided to wait until after the legislature wraps up the fiscal session, then a special session, so that the grounds won’t be as busy and heavy equipment can be brought in.
"It’ll require more installation equipment this time," he said. That’s because the new monument, which has been completed and is ready to be installed, includes new safety features designed to prevent a similar incident.
"There’s going to be these protective barriers, concrete posts on each corner, that are going to be dug several feet into the ground, and there’s some rebar that goes up in the concrete and into the monument itself," Powell said. "It’s very, very heavy, and so they’ve got to bring in a special truck to lift that and be able to place it correctly without damaging it."
Some groups are vowing to challenge the constitutionality of the new Ten Commandments monument after it’s unveiled, calling it a violation of church and state.
Michael Tate Reed, who was charged with destroying the previous monument, was found unfit to stand trial in November. He uploaded a video to Facebook showing the view from inside his vehicle as he sped toward the monument yelling "freedom" before a crashing sound was heard on impact.
Reed is being held at the state hospital and has a hearing scheduled in September to consider his mental status. In a similar incident, he was arrested in Oklahoma in 2014 for a destroying a Ten Commandments monument at its state Capitol.