Over the summer, a Ten Commandments monument was installed outside the Arkansas State Capitol. It lasted less than 24 hours. That first evening, a self-described “born again Christian” and “Jesus Freak” named Michael Tate Reed drove his car into the display and destroyed it.
Believe it or not, it was the second time Reed had been guilty of doing this. He ran through the monument outside the Oklahoma State Capitol in 2014.
And now, a judge in Arkansas says Reed is “unfit” to stand trial for his felony criminal mischief charge.
A Pulaski County judge found Michael Tate Reed unfit to proceed based on a diagnosis by state doctors and ordered him to be held by the state hospital for further evaluation. Circuit Judge Chris Piazza set a September 2018 hearing on Reed’s mental status.
“We met him in jail. He’s a very sick person, and this is the right outcome,” Robert Hodge, an attorney for Reed, told reporters after the hearing.
If he’s truly mentally ill, then this is the right move. There were always people scratching their heads over these crimes since Reed publicly stated he was devoutly religious as well as a supporter of church/state separation. That was confusing, but not out of the question since plenty of religious people support that separation. Reed, however, made other comments that were more questionable. In a Facebook post before driving into the monument, he wrote that he was “back at it again with the white plans,” whatever that meant. He blamed the 2014 incident on the Devil, adding that he was “diagnosed with Bipolar” and “off his medication.”
As of this writing, Arkansas State Sen. Jason Rapert, who spearheaded the campaign to put the monument on government property, hasn’t commented on Reed. Last we heard from Rapert, he was saying the replacement monument was finished, but there was no set date for when it would be installed again. When that happens, it will almost certainly set off a round of lawsuits.