A Ferguson police officer is in hot water after referring to a Michael Brown memorial as “trash,” reports KMOV St. Louis.
The memorial, which had been standing since August, was run over by a car on Christmas night in an act that many activists believe was intentional. Once word spread via social media that the memorial had been destroyed, people gathered to hurriedly rebuild the wreckage. The site was restored by 4 a.m. that morning.
However, the Ferguson Police Department’s public relations officer, Officer Timothy Zoll, told The Washington Post on Friday that he didn’t think a crime had been committed and called the memorial “trash.”
“I don’t know that a crime has occurred,” said Zoll, who has been with the department for 12 years. “But a pile of trash in the middle of the street? The Washington Post is making a call over this?”
After his comment was published, Zoll was suspended and placed on unpaid leave. The Ferguson Police Department is assessing any subsequent disciplinary action.
“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 of Ferguson said in a statement. “The City of Ferguson and the Ferguson Police Department in particular, are focused on creating a trusting relationship with the entire community and taking impactful steps to improve the effectiveness of the department.”