Ferguson Police Department took the decision over the weekend to suspend one of their cops who allegedly made derogatory remarks about the Michael Brown memorial, calling it “a pile of trash.”
The officer in question, Timothy Zoll, denied making the dismissive remark after the memorial was hit by a car, but later admitted he had lied and was punished accordingly.
The makeshift memorial on the very spot where Michael Brown died, in the middle of Canfield Drive in the Missouri town, consists of flowers and other items commemorating Brown’s death.
The Michael Brown memorial, which was hit by a car on Friday morning and destroyed, was soon rebuilt by Brown supporters.
The comments made by Timothy Zoll, who is a public relations officer for the Ferguson PD, were reportedly made to the Washington Post reporter Jose A. DelReal, who called the department to ask whether they were investigating the incident.
As the Washington Post reports, in response to that question, Zoll replied, “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?”
Officer Timothy Zoll was placed on unpaid leave while his superiors decide whether to enact a more serious penalty on him, or if the suspension will suffice.
A press release confirming Zoll’s suspension noted that he had “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. The officer has been placed on unpaid leave, effective immediately, while disciplinary proceedings begin.”
The statement continued, “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.”