A video shared by the New York police commissioner shows caches of bricks and rocks that he says were placed by “organized looters.”
Dermot Shea, Police Commissioner of the City of New York, shared the video on his Twitter page on June 3. “This is what our cops are up against: Organized looters, strategically placing caches of bricks & rocks at locations throughout NYC,” wrote Shea.
The video was originally posted by Yaakov (Jack) Kaplan, who wrote on Twitter, “NYPD removing bricks from Ave X in Brooklyn. Bricks have been places (sic) strategically around Brooklyn in anticipation of protests. ANTIFA is way more organized than politicians pretend.” On Twitter, he defines himself as “Operations manager for a Brooklyn non profit.” It hasn’t been proven who placed the bricks and rocks there, however.
Who is Dermot Shea? According to his official biography, Shea “was appointed the 44th police commissioner of the City of New York by Mayor Bill de Blasio in December 2019. He previously served as the Chief of Detectives, the Chief of Crime Control Strategies, and the Deputy Commissioner of Operations. He was instrumental in developing the NYPD’s precision policing methods used to identify, investigate, and arrest the relatively small percentage of offenders responsible for much of the city’s crime and violence.”
The commissioner’s post comes after a series of social media posts have claimed that bricks and pallets have been mysteriously appearing in cities throughout the United States in conjunction with George Floyd protests and riots. However, some people challenged Shea in the comment thread, with one person writing, “Do you have evidence for who put them there and that it was indeed done by looters?”
People have posted photos of the bricks and pallets on social media. However, it’s not clear why the bricks and pallets are showing up in cities throughout the U.S. In multiple cases, videos and photos of bricks went viral but were debunked by law enforcement agencies and journalists who say some of them were placed there before the Floyd unrest for unrelated reasons, such as ongoing construction. Whether this is a coordinated effort is also not proven.
This NBC News producer has created an exhaustive thread debunking some of the other bricks, rocks and pallet claims that have hit social media.
Here are some other examples of bricks, rocks, and pallets showing up in cities, with some of the countering evidence.
People have presented counter evidence on the bricks in Fayetteville.
The NU Police Department explained of the above video: “On Monday, June 1, while on a routine patrol of campus, two of our officers came across a damaged brick sidewalk at the corner of Tremont and Coventry streets that posed a safety hazard for pedestrians due to loose, upturned and broken bricks. To prevent injuries to pedestrians, the officers collected the bricks and returned them to NUPD headquarters, where they immediately notified the City of Boston of a need for repair to the sidewalk and to request that the city collect the broken and damaged bricks.”
San Francisco police wrote, “We have confirmed these pallets are affiliated with a construction site and have contacted the contractor to have them removed. Thank you for bringing this to our attention.”