A 30-year-old Columbia Falls resident has been charged with felony criminal mischief after he allegedly chained a granite slab etched with the Ten Commandments to the back of his truck and pulled it onto Main Street in downtown Kalispell on June 27.
Anthony Craig Weimer was arrested the day of the incident and booked into the Flathead County Detention Center. The monument suffered significant damage on Saturday and had not been restored to its prior location as of June 29.
Kalispell Chief of Police Doug Overman said his office has “no evidence” that Weimer’s action is connected to any protest movement. Earlier this month, a number of heavily armed people surrounded the Veterans Memorial in Kalispell’s Deport Park to protect it from vandals who never arrived, and a small group of Black Lives Matters protesters had previously gathered outside the old Flathead County Courthouse, where the statue pulled down on Saturday was located. The building currently houses a number of city and county offices.
The Ten Commandments monument was gifted to the county in 1950 and is one of several granite slabs outside the old courthouse building at 800 S. Main Street. The religious display’s placement on public land has been the source of some controversy over the years. After one legal challenge, supporters purchased six additional monuments with non-religious text, allowing the entire display, they argued, to be protected under “cornerstone of law” provisions.