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story.lead_photo.caption Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, who sponsored the 2015 law to erect the 10 Commandments monument on state grounds, speaks about its destruction at a news conference Tuesday, June 28, 2017. ( Emma Pettit)

A replacement Ten Commandments monument has already been ordered after the original statue was erected on Arkansas Capitol grounds and toppled less than a day later, a state senator said Wednesday.

“This law will be fulfilled, and we will raise the funds to make sure it’s put back where it should be,” said Sen. Jason Rapert, R-Bigelow, who spearheaded the 2015 law to erect the 6-foot monolith.

Early Wednesday, a driver — identified by authorities as 32-year-old Michael Tate Reed of Van Buren — drove a vehicle into the newly constructed statue, apparently filming the act live on Facebook.

[FULL STORY: Arrest made after Ten Commandments monument at Arkansas Capitol toppled, shattered]

Photos by Emma Pettit
Click here for larger versions

Rapert told reporters at a news conference Wednesday of his belief that the act was done in a “premeditated fashion.”

“It appears that he knew exactly what he was doing at the time,” the legislator said, adding that such destruction cannot be tolerated.

Rapert called on elected officials to take a stand against violence and against people “using weapons to destroy things” based on differences in viewpoints.

“That’s the same hatred, that’s the same motivation that motives somebody to put on a mask and take a bat and go to a college campus and attack somebody who is standing there exercising their free-speech rights,” he said, later referencing the shooting at a congressional baseball practice in Virginia.

In his remarks Wednesday morning, the state senator said that he could not comment on the driver’s mental state.

“I hope that if he is mentally unstable, that they will get him some help,” Rapert said.

The new monument will be carved from the same mahogany granite found in a South Dakota quarry and will likely reside in the same spot on Capitol grounds, Rapert said.

Rapert said the nonprofit he set up after his 2015 bill passed into law is currently taking donations to pay for the new stone. He plans to fund the replacement monument with private money and avoid using state funds, he said. If Reed has car insurance, that company might have to pay the state of Arkansas for damage, the senator added.

“I just don't believe in rolling over for folks that carry out these acts,” Rapert said.

Sen. Trent Garner, R-El Dorado, echoed Rapert's desire to install a new monument in a tweet Wednesday morning.

“We will rebuild. In fact, we should build the monument bigger and higher to show that [we] will not be intimidated,” the senator said.

Rad Thursday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.


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Archived Comments

  • DEE672
    June 28, 2017 at 12:39 p.m.

    Whose money is this crackpot using to replace this thing ? It will only be temporary and the lawsuits will cost a lot of taxpayer's money.

  • RBear
    June 28, 2017 at 12:47 p.m.

    Unfortunately, when it comes time to defend this affront to the First Amendment it will be the taxpayers of the state who have to fork out the money. Rappert spending money of others to promote his little agenda.

  • FireEyes
    June 28, 2017 at 12:58 p.m.

    To you whiners, hello, ever heard of INSURANCE??? There is no way the state failed to properly insure the monument.

    The crackpot is the one who destroyed it and he will face appropriate charges, which, no doubt, will include RESTITUTION. Guess you never heard of that either.

    As to agendas, those of us who support Rapert are fed up with the Anti-Christian agenda and ignorance of true US history and we're fighting back.

  • hah406
    June 28, 2017 at 1:05 p.m.

    The state better not have spent money insuring it. It was supposed to be privately funded 100%. As for your other comment, I am far from Anti-Christian. I am just anti-Rapert. His ignorance on certain issues offends, and his speaking like he is God's right hand man reeks of arrogance.

  • LR1955
    June 28, 2017 at 1:50 p.m.

    Read read read the article, private money and the perp's auto insurance are both mentioned as the source for funding.

    June 28, 2017 at 1:50 p.m.

    Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.

  • RBear
    June 28, 2017 at 1:53 p.m.

    FireEyes, as hah pointed out this was privately funded so any insurance from the state would be funding a religious symbol which clearly violates the First Amendment. The statute did not appropriate money for funding such monuments, just approving placement of them on the grounds. Regarding restitution, I don't think he paid the State of OK back for their monument. Those of us who oppose Rapert are fed up with thumpers constantly proselytizing their twisted views of religion on us. I'm a Christian, but my beliefs differ with yours. The difference is I'm not trying to ram them down your throat.

  • LRDawg
    June 28, 2017 at 2:13 p.m.

    Its a statue.....who cares? "State of Arkansas" doesn't live by these commandments anyway. Christians like ME could care less for some IDOL "fashioned by mans hands". Replace it and move on. If the idea behind this statue was for a Christian purpose it failed....Thou Shall not kill

  • Kharma
    June 28, 2017 at 3:24 p.m.

    And the silly season continues.

    Killing killers though is quit righteous. We should continue to do that. Smite them SOBs. Can I get an Amen up in here?

  • dunk7474
    June 28, 2017 at 3:26 p.m.

    When Rappert comes out of the closet, we will know that he was just frustrated. No man in his right mind would do the stupid things he does and says.