Ferguson Cop Suspended for Calling Memorial 'Trash'
He dismissed destruction of Michael Brown tribute
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2014 10:59 PM CST
Updated Dec 29, 2014 12:15 AM CST
A makeshift memorial sits in the middle of the street where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed in Ferguson, Mo.   (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, File)
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(Newser) – More bad public relations for the Ferguson police department, this time from its PR officer: The force's chief spokesman has been suspended indefinitely without pay after calling a memorial to slain teenager Michael Brown "trash," reports KMOV. The memorial, in the middle of the street where Brown was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson, was destroyed by a driver on Friday night, apparently intentionally. When the Washington Post asked Officer Timothy Zoll about the destruction, he said, "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?"

City officials initially backed Zoll, a 12-year veteran of the force, but they changed their position after determining he had falsely claimed to have been misquoted by the Post, reports the New York Times. Zoll "misled his superiors when asked about the contents of the interview," the city said in a statement, adding that it 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 memorial, including flowers, notes, and stuffed animals, was quickly rebuilt after Friday's destruction.