A Montana man has been arrested after a Ten Commandments monument in Kalispell, Montana, was destroyed on Saturday.
Officers from the Kalispell Police Department arrested Anthony Weimer, 30, of Columbia Falls, Montana, according to KHQ-TV.
No reason was given for taking down the monument.
At about 3:45 p.m. Saturday, the Kalispell Police Department, Flathead County Sheriff’s Office and Montana Highway Patrol responded to a report that a man had gone onto the courthouse grounds and hooked a chain around the monument, later pulling it down, according to a police news release.
Montana man is arrested after tearing down Ten Commandments monument on courthouse grounds https://t.co/7o3nrDy6gh
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) June 29, 2020
The monument was dragged into the southbound lane of South Main Street, after which the man who moved it unhooked the chain and drove off, witnesses told police.
Man arrested for taking down Kalispell monument with chain, pickup truckhttps://t.co/miNUAwYbbp
— NBC Montana (@NBCMontana) June 28, 2020
Police were given a description of the truck used in the incident and used that description to track down Weimer, who faces a charge of felony criminal mischief.
Kalispell Police Patrol Sergeant Chad Fetveit said that although the monument sits among a series of small monuments honoring the Montana Constitution, U.S. Constitution, U.S. Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, Magna Carta and Mayflower Compact, none of the others was damaged, according to the Daily Interlake.
The damaged Ten Commandments monument is in storage.
Weiner, meanwhile, is being held at the Flathead County Detention Center.
According to an Associated Press report published by the Lewiston Tribune in 2012, the Fraternal Order of the Eagles gave the Ten Commandments statue to Flathead County in 1950. The statue was later flanked by others focusing on society’s foundational documents.
The incident comes as a wave of vandalism against statues and monuments is sweeping the United States.
On Friday, the White House announced that to protect federal monuments and statues, President Donald Trump signed an executive order “that ensures that any person or group that destroys or vandalizes a monument, memorial, or statue is prosecuted to the fullest extent” as are “those who incite violence and illegal activity.”
Ten Commandments monuments have been targeted for destruction before.
In 2017, one that was installed at the Arkansas State Capitol was demolished less than a day after it was put in place, according to The New York Times.
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