A wave of social media posts and images have claimed that pallets of bricks have been appearing near the locations of protests in cities all over the United States. This sparked rampant speculation that the bricks are part of a coordinated effort to incite violence as a way to entrap protesters and instigate chaos.
BuzzFeed News has documented claims made about bricks in Boston, Dallas, Kansas City, San Francisco, and elsewhere. In several cases, bricks were placed long before protests began in the US, or they are clearly linked to ongoing construction. As of now, there’s no evidence to support claims of coordinated brick placements at protests. However, now that the claims have spread across social media, it’s possible that people could be inspired to start collecting and placing bricks.
Here’s a breakdown of claims about bricks appearing in different locations and the information available as of now. This post will be updated with new information as it becomes available.
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1. Multiple tweets claimed that pallets of bricks had been “planted” in Frisco, Texas, ahead of protests in the city. In each case, police and local crews said they were part of ongoing construction.
The bricks shown above were being used to fix the sidewalk that runs under the highway. They were soon covered up by the crews working on the project.
In another case, bricks were discovered not far from where a protest was due to take place on June 1. A spokesperson for the Frisco Police Department told the Associated Press the bricks were for a local homeowners association project.
“At this point, our department has no intelligence to suggest that any bricks have been placed on this specific route in advance of this protest for violent purposes,” Sgt. Evan Mattei told AP.
2. These stacks of “random-ass bricks” were the focus of a video shot in Fayetteville, North Carolina. The man who narrated it claimed there wasn’t any construction in the area. He questioned why the bricks were placed in the middle of a protest, but there’s a good explanation.
BBC News investigated and found a YouTube video showing that the bricks had been in that location since at least May 24, the day before George Floyd was killed. The BBC also found a city document that indicated the area was scheduled for construction.
3. A YouTube video with “Antifa Terrorism” in the title claimed to show “crates of bricks” along a street in Sherman Oaks, California. “That don’t look right to me,” says the man behind the camera. These are in fact security barriers installed to protect a Jewish community building.
“To all our concerned neighbors and friends, there were false pictures and videos going around today, claiming some bricks or rocks were placed at our center,” wrote Chabad of Sherman Oaks on Facebook. “Here is the truth: THESE ARE SECURITY BARRIERS and have been here for almost a year!”
The organization said it temporarily removed the stones as a precaution.
4. This video shows two law enforcement officers unloading bricks from the back of their vehicle. The video’s narration suggests they’re doing this for nefarious reasons, likely related to the protests. That’s apparently not the case.
The officers are members of the Northeastern University Police Department in Boston, which patrols the campus. After the video went viral, the NUPD issued a series of tweets to explain that its officers had collected the bricks from a damaged sidewalk nearby and brought them to the headquarters.
They were in the process of unloading the bricks when the video was filmed, according to the NUPD.
The user who made the video, @chill_lesh, later deleted it and said she was “not interested in spreading misinformation.”
5. Multiple viral social media posts claimed that a pallet of bricks in Dallas was part of a government scheme to entrap protesters. The placement of these bricks was investigated by NBC News, and there is no evidence of government involvement.
Loránd Bodó, an NBC News producer, was able to pinpoint the exact location of the bricks in Dallas. He found a Google Street View image that showed they have been there since at least February.
In spite of those details, the Dallas bricks are now being woven into the sprawling QAnon conspiracy theory. Some QAnon followers baselessly claim the bricks are from a company owned by billionaire investor Warren Buffet, and that they have ties to Bill Gates and other powerful figures.
6. A Twitter user tagged San Francisco Mayor London Breed to say that “mysterious brick placing is happening in our city in an attempt to escalate our protests” — but the police say the bricks are there for a construction project.
The San Francisco Police Department said it looked into why the bricks were there and is getting the contractor to remove them.
7. This video shows protesters coming upon a cache of bricks in New York City on May 31. However, the bricks were protected by barriers, and there appears to be construction scaffolding in the background.
8. As of now, there is one instance where police allege they discovered bricks being placed for use in protests. The Kansas City Police Department tweeted on May 31 that it found “stashes of bricks and rocks.” It did not share a photo of its discovery nor say how many it found.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates and follow BuzzFeed News on Twitter.