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Mike Brown memorial rebuilt

A view of a memorial for Michael Brown in the middle of Canfield Drive on Friday, Dec. 26, 2014. A small group of people rebuilt the memorial early Friday morning after reports that a vehicle had driven through the memorial and destroyed it. Photo by Laurie Skrivan, lskrivan@post-dispatch.com

FERGUSON • A Ferguson police spokesman was placed on unpaid leave after acknowledging remarks to a Washington Post blogger in which he called the Michael Brown memorial a “pile of trash,” city officials said Saturday.

One day earlier, the city stood behind the spokesman, Officer Timothy Zoll — claiming he had been misquoted — after an inquiry into the damaged memorial in the middle of Canfield Drive. But officials retreated in a one-page statement issued Saturday.

Zoll was “confronted with the results” of a department investigation into the remarks attributed to him, city officials said.

The officer “admitted to department investigators” that he made the statement attributed to him” and had “misled” superiors about the interview.

The unpaid leave is effective immediately while disciplinary proceedings begin, according to the statement.

City officials emphasized that Zoll’s remarks “do not reflect the feelings” of the Ferguson Police Department.

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Ken Leiser is a reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.