A man alleged to have torn down a Ten Commandments monument using a chain and pickup truck was arrested by the Montana police. Anthony Weimer was charged with the felony criminal mischief after he was identified as the one who toppled the shrine in Kalispell, Montana.
Seen Attaching A Chain To A Pickup Truck
According to reports, several people saw a man, later identified as Weimer, within the vicinity of the Flathead County Courthouse. They called the police after they saw him attach one end of a chain to the monument and the other end to his truck. A couple of minutes after that, they saw the pickup truck charging forward, taking down the shrine and pulling what remained of it onto the street.
Witnesses say after the deed was done, they espied the man collecting the chain and loading it into his vehicle before driving off. Police officers were able to track down the vehicle and the suspect, whom they promptly arrested.
Unknown Reason For The Vandalism Act
Police authorities told reporters they still do not know what provoked Weimer to commit such an act of vandalism. Information released by authorities shows Weimer is scheduled to appear in court on Monday. At present, empty space can be seen where the monument used to stand in front of the courthouse at 800 S. Main St., in Kalispell. The only monuments left there were those that commemorate the Montana and U.S. constitutions, Mayflower Compact, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence.
In 2011, the Associated Press reported that the Kalispell City Council was requested to take possession of the courthouse shrine and six other monuments that included historical writings from the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. Together, these statues shaped a “cornerstone of law” exhibit. Fearful of being sued on account of the First Amendment calling for the separation of state and church, the council declined.
Target Of A Legal Challenge
According to the report by the AP, the Fraternal Order of the Eagles gave the monument of the Ten Commandments to Flathead County way back in 1950. It was then installed in front of the courthouse.
When the shrine became a target of a legal challenge before 2011, the donor again took possession of the object. During a courthouse renovation project, workers moved the monument to the southwest corner of the area.