FERGUSON • The Urban League on Thursday denied trashing stuffed animals and other items that were part of memorials to Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson.
Stuffed animals, candles and plastic flowers like those that made up the memorials were spotted in a trash bin at the Urban League of Greater St. Louis Wednesday night, hours after Michael Brown Sr. and others cleared the memorials in Ferguson where his son was killed on Aug. 9.
Brown and other community members packed the items into trash bags on Wednesday and into a U-Haul truck that was destined for the Urban League. The group said it planned to display items that could be salvaged at its planned Ferguson location at the site of the burned-out QuikTrip.
Twitter user Search4Swag tweeted photos of a trash bin he said was outside the Urban League's Jennings location Wednesday night. A Post-Dispatch photographer also went there and captured a similar photo of stuffed animals and other items in a trash bin. Some of the things in the trash were strikingly similar to items seen in photos of the memorials before they were taken down.
"Told y'all Urban League wasn't about the movement," one tweet with pictures from Search4Swag read. "Look what I found in the dumpster."
The series of tweets were recirculated hundreds of times.
But the Urban League says none of the stuffed animals from the Brown memorials were thrown away. Angelia Bills, vice president of communications for the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, said the things in the trash bin weren't from the memorials.
"What was in the bin last night were actually discarded donated items from another donation that we had," she said. "As we get donations, we sort through them and if they're usable we keep them, and if not, we put them in the trash."
At the Urban League Thursday morning, volunteers unpacked about two dozen bags of mementos from the Brown memorial. Bills said that the items will be professionally cleaned before being displayed.
She said that the Urban League is committed to the community, especially since the unrest in Ferguson following the shooting of Brown, and said their plans came with the blessing of Brown's family.
Brown said at a news conference in Ferguson Wednesday that the memorial had become a safety hazard. It is being replaced by a permanent plaque and a figure of a dove.