A Ferguson police officer has been placed on unpaid leave after calling a longstanding memorial to slain teen Michael Brown "a pile of trash in the middle of the street," CBS reports.

Asked about the apparently malicious destruction of the memorial on Friday, public information officer Tim Zoll told The Washington Post "I don't know that a crime has occurred," saying, "But a pile of trash in the middle of the street? The Washington Post is making a call over this?"

According to a statement by the City of Ferguson, Zoll initially denied making the comments when asked by superiors, but later admitted to lying when confronted with the results of an internal investigation. Said the City:

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. [...] 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.

By Friday morning, the memorial to Brown had been rebuilt.

[Image via AP Images//h/t BuzzFeed]