FERGUSON, Mo. (AP) _ The caretaker of stuffed animals and other mementoes from a former mid-street Ferguson memorial to Michael Brown denies discarding many of the items from the makeshift shrine after they were removed this week.
Brown’s relatives joined volunteers Wednesday in clearing out the memorial that first cropped up within hours after the 18-year-old Brown, who was Black and unarmed, was shot and killed last summer by White Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson.
Salvageable items removed from the memorial were to be stored by the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis for an intended display at the group’s planned Ferguson location in what had been a QuikTrip set ablaze during protests the night after Brown was killed.
But pictures posted on social media later Wednesday showed a trash bin near the Urban League filled with things similar to those that were in the Brown memorial.
An Urban League spokeswoman, Angelia Bills, insisted the posted pictures showed discarded items from another donation.
“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,” she told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (http://bit.ly/1GtCT7r ), noting that items from the Brown memorial will be professionally cleared before being displayed.
Brown’s death touched off protests and a “Black Lives Matter” movement that gained momentum with subsequent police killings of unarmed black men in other U.S. cities.
A St. Louis County grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice declined to prosecute Wilson, who resigned in November. But a separate Justice Department report found racial profiling among Ferguson officers and a municipal court system driven by profit. Release of the report in March led to the resignation of Ferguson’s city manager, municipal court judge and police chief.
Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com