Photos have been circulating on Election Day 2020 showing piles and pallets of bricks in major cities across the country. Internet conspiracy theorists speculated the bricks were laid out in preparation for election-related civil unrest, but most of the photos can either be tied to ongoing construction projects or are photos that were taken weeks ago.
Here are explanations for the most widely circulating photos from Chicago, Detroit, Connecticut and more:
A Photo of Bricks Appearing in Chicago Was an Old Picture
One widely circulating photo showed bricks “appearing” in Chicago on November 2. Here’s an example of one of the tweets with the photo:
Supposedly piles of bricks mysteriously showing up in Chicago tonight. Lovely! @PeterRQuinones @EricDJuly @HotepJesus @MonicaPerezShow @freedomactradio @ComicDaveSmith @ThaddeusRussell pic.twitter.com/z4o8CYpjGt
— JJ Boogie ▶️🎸 (@JJ_Boogie) November 3, 2020
The photo shows the bricks near an ice cream store that sells Sherman’s and another store named Evolve. However, residents of Chicago pointed out that this photo does not appear to be accurate and is, in fact, old.
One person pointed out that the photo was from construction on a brick patio for GIA MIA, which is located to the left of where the photo was taken.
— Matt Reddington (@mattred33) November 3, 2020
Here’s the original post about the brick patio wall.
Another person reached out to the store owner, who confirmed that the bricks are not currently near the restaurant and did not show up on November 2.
It’s not there. Confirmed by the store next to it. pic.twitter.com/l1yP3MMuv8
— Alex Gaidai (@AlexGaidai) November 3, 2020
Daily Dot also confirmed that this was an old photo. A manager for GIA MIA confirmed with Daily Dot that the bricks in the photo were used to build a patio and that the bricks had been removed.
Additional note: Some people are asking why the bricks are still outside if the patio project was finished in October.
I called GIA MIA and spoke to a manager who said the bricks are not outside and were removed some time ago, which suggests that the initial photo is old.
— Mikael Thalen (@MikaelThalen) November 3, 2020
Matt Reddington on Twitter visited the location and took a photo, showing the bricks are not there. “Who knows how old the photo is,” Reddington wrote. “Here is a photo taken today.”
The bricks aren’t still there. Who knows how old that photo was. Here is a photo taken today. pic.twitter.com/COlmeMvvtF
— Matt Reddington (@mattred33) November 3, 2020
A Photo from Connecticut Appears to Show an Ongoing Construction Project
A discussion on Reddit shows a photo claiming to be from Wallingford, Connecticut.
However, as others pointed out, you can just look behind the pile of bricks and see a new brick construction project using the exact same bricks as those seen in the pile.
Another person commented, “As someone who lives in CT, Wallingford seems like a weird spot for a riot to break out.”
A Detroit Brick Photo Was Also From a Construction Project
Another poster is claiming that pallets of bricks were seen in downtown Detroit.
Pallets of bricks arbitrarily placed in downtown Detroit on Election Eve 🤨🧐🤔 pic.twitter.com/Ti4Z4BrcA2
— Chazz Sutton (@chazzsutton) November 3, 2020
On Reddit, one person commented: “I live right in front of this building (The Whitney Building). There are renovations happening to the brick driveway right behind it. That pallate of bricks is gone.”
Detroit Free Press confirmed, reporting that the pallets are for a construction project near Wayne State University Tierney Alumni House. Detroit Free Press noted that the bricks were in the Marathon gas station parking lot, next to a construction site. John Hamood, owner of John Hamood Construction Services, said they later covered the bricks with black wrapping to alleviate concerns.
In June, NYC Police Said Some Bricks Were Placed by ‘Organized Looters,’ But Other Brick Reports Were Debunked
Heavy reported in June that New York City police said some of the bricks in that city had been placed by organized looters. Police Commissioner Dermot Shea of New York City shared a video on Twitter claiming that some bricks and rocks were placed in strategic locations around the city.
This is what our cops are up against: Organized looters, strategically placing caches of bricks & rocks at locations throughout NYC. pic.twitter.com/HT317TjoqH
— Commissioner Shea (@NYPDShea) June 3, 2020
Other reports were debunked. The Associated Press reported that rocks on Ventura Boulevard in Los Angeles, which were originally claimed to have been planted by protesters, were actually part of a security barrier outside Chabad of Sherman Oaks.
FactCheck.org reported in June that the following were debunked:
— Bricks in Frisco, Texas, were actually left by a homeowners association for construction.
— Bricks in Dallas, Texas, were actually there since February, located near a construction site.
— A photo from Norfolk, Virginia, showed bricks at an intersection. These were placed by a contractor setting up a gas line.
— A Boston video of police unloading bricks was from June 1, when officers were collecting loose bricks from a damaged sidewalk.
The brick photos have been circulating again on Election Day. A subreddit dedicated to the bricks, called r/WhoseBricksAreThese, was banned on Reddit on Election Day.