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Ferguson Suspends Officer Who Called Michael Brown Memorial 'Trash'

The Ferguson police spokesman was put on unpaid leave after reportedly calling a memorial to Michael Brown "a pile of trash in the street."

A Ferguson, Missouri, police spokesman has been suspended after he reportedly referred to a memorial for Michael Brown as a "pile of trash," the city said.

After a memorial to the unarmed black 18-year-old shot dead by a white police officer was driven over and scattered Friday, Ferguson Police spokesman Officer Timothy Zoll was quoted in The Washington Post as saying, "I don't know that a crime has occurred. But a pile of trash in the middle of the street? The Washington Post is making a call over this?"

The city did not name Zoll in its statement Saturday, but said the officer who was quoted has been suspended without pay pending an internal investigation. It said the officer initially denied making the comments, but after an investigation "admitted to Department investigators that he did in fact make the remarks attributed to him, and that he misled his superiors when asked about the contents of the interview."

Ferguson’s government has been trying to rebuild a relationship with the community, which was the scene of protests and unrest after Brown was fatally shot on Aug. 9 and again after a grand jury declined to indict the officer. "The City of Ferguson wants to emphasize that negative remarks about the Michael Brown memorial do not reflect the feelings of the Ferguson Police Department and are in direct contradiction to the efforts of City officials to relocate the memorial to a more secure location," the city said.



— Phil Helsel