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- Bricks photographed in Detroit are for construction projects, according to police.
During demonstrations over the killing of George Floyd in May, rumors spread online that piles of bricks were being staged in various U.S. cities, proving that riots were being planned. Though protests did sometimes erupt in violence, we largely debunked claims that bricks were being surreptitiously dropped in communities to cause damage.
Now, as the country braces for possible unrest related to the presidential election, these kinds of claims are back. Photos showing pallets of bricks have started appearing on Facebook.
One post said two of the images were taken on Oct. 31 in Detroit: "Lots of bricks. Didn’t see any construction in the area. There’s no such thing as a coincidence."
"Bricks randomly placed all over Detroit," another post said. "Here we go again."
These posts were flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
We reached out to the city of Detroit and to the Detroit Police Department about them.
Sgt. Nicole Kirkwood told us that officers have looked into the claims. One of the piles is already gone, she said, and the remaining pallets are bricks for construction work.
A spokesperson for the mayor’s office told us the same.
One pallet of bricks near a university building is for a screening wall, the Detroit Free Press reported. But the owner of the construction company building the wall wrapped them in up after multiple people asked about their purpose.
"These were not any loose bricks," he said. "There are metal bands that strap them tightly together."
We rate the claims in these Facebook posts False.
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Facebook post, Nov. 2, 2020
Facebook post, Nov. 1, 2020
PolitiFact, Fact-checking theories about bricks and Black Lives Matter, June 3, 2020
Detroit Free Press, Pallet of bricks in Detroit is for construction work, not a riot, Nov. 3, 2020
Interview with John Roach, media relations director, Detroit mayor’s office, Nov. 3, 2020
Interview with Nicole Kirkwood, sergeant, Detroit Police Department, Nov. 3, 2020
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