In a telephone interview with the Arkansas Times, Michael Reed, who is charged with destroying the Ten Commandments monument at the Arkansas Capitol less than 24 hours after it was erected, said of driving his Dodge Dart into the granite tablet, "I meant to do it, fully well."
"I just couldn't help myself," Reed said. "I knew God told me I needed to run the car into it."
We talked to Reed on Friday, July 7, (not June as originally written) after sending a letter to Pulaski County Jail with the Arkansas Times phone number. Reed called and an interview was arranged. The approximately 20-minute conversation cost $20 in jail phone expenses, which we paid.
"I did it because I fully believe I'm the rider on the first white horse in Revelations," Reed said, among a longer explanation of his interpretation of Scripture and his communications with God. He said that he understands that he "sounds insane" and if properly evaluated could be considered mentally insane with "chemical imbalances galore."
"I'm legally insane," he said. "But, in my heart, I don't believe I'm mentally insane."
Reed said that he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, among other mental illnesses, in Oklahoma, where he mowed down a similar Ten Commandments monument on Capitol grounds. It was rebuilt, as sponsor Sen. Jason Rapert has vowed to do in Arkansas, but ordered removed by a court. A lawsuit has been promised by several groups over the Arkansas monument, once back in place, for violation of the constitutional principle of separation of church and state.
Reed said he was also influenced by a belief that "we are to maintain the separation of church and state."
Reed was at a friend's house in Alma, when he heard about the monument's erection on TV. Without telling anyone his plans, he drove to Little Rock.
He finally found the 10 Commandments at the State Capitol and as he prepared to run it over, Reed claims, a police officer pulled up near him.
After the crash, the officer took Reed inside the State Capitol and arrested him while they waited for EMTs, according to Reed. He requested to go to St. Vincent Infirmary Medical Center for a psychiatric evaluation. Reed claims there he was not given a full psychiatric examination, but then sent to jail.
In the county detention facility, Reed says he told officials he was "hearing voices" and was then put on suicide watch. Reed described this as being bound in a straitjacket and being held in a room without a toilet or sink. He said he had to relieve himself over an uncleaned grate in the floor. With bad knees, Reed complained that he could not squat.
"They told I had to sit down on the grate," he said.
Once out of suicide watch, Reed claims that one jailer warned him to stop complaining about his type 2 diabetes or "I'm going to send you back on suicide watch."
Reed said he wants to leave Pulaski County Jail but his $100,000 bail is "insane" and his GoFundMe pages for bail have been shut down. He is represented by a public defender.