Pallets of bricks have ‘randomly’ appeared during protests across the US this weekend, sparking theories they were planted to stoke violence.
Those taking part in demonstrations against police brutality and the death of black man George Floyd have reported finding large stashes of the makeshift weapons on streets.
Videos from New York City, Kansas City, Dallas and Fayetteville in North Carolina all appear to show piles of bricks unattended in the middle of protests.
The footage has led to suggestions the slabs were either planted by police or by extremists to overshadow peaceful protests over the death of Floyd, a black man who pleaded for air as white police officer Derek Chauvin pressed a knee into his neck for almost nine minutes.
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Videos from New York City, pictured, Kansas City, Dallas and Fayetteville in North Carolina all appear to show piles of bricks unattended in the middle of protests
In Dallas, Instagram user RuebenGotSoul documented a large pile of bricks stacked up in
Police in Kansas City said in a tweet Sunday that they had discovered large piles of bricks and rocks in and around the Country Club Plaza and Westport that had been placed strategically to ‘be used in the riot’.
‘If you see anything like this, you can text 911 and let us know so we can remove them. This keeps everyone safe and allows your voice to continue to be heard,’ the Kansas City Police Department wrote.
Similarly, in New York City, video captured the moment rioters in Manhattan chanced upon a cache of bricks between St. Marks Place and Seventh Street in the East Village on Sunday evening, though no construction site appeared to be nearby.
The account that uploaded the clip remarked that ‘videos continue to surface showing protesters stumbling upon pallets of bricks or pavers in areas with no construction taking place.’
In Dallas, Instagram user RuebenGotSoul documented a large pile of bricks stacked up in front of the city’s courthouse.
‘The Dallas protest was a lot of things. But I was very disappointed to see this RANDOM stack of bricks in front of the courthouse. #setup,’ he remarked.
Sharing a video of yet more piles of bricks nearby protesters @right2073 commented: ‘This is supposed to be Fayetteville, NC.’
Another user, @FunnyHusband, commented: ‘That’s the third “well placed bricks” video I’ve seen. Previous 2 had no construction anywhere near and bricks didn’t match any of the structures.’
George Floyd (left) was accused of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill at a grocery store after he was laid off in the pandemic. Disturbing video showed him prone on the street, while a white police officer (Derek Chauvin, right) pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck even as he cried he couldn’t breathe
Sharing a video of yet more piles of bricks nearby protesters @right2073 commented: ‘This is supposed to be Fayetteville, NC’
On social media, users participating in the protests have reported large stashes of bricks randomly appearing at rallying sites
The discovery of the piles of bricks and rocks have prompted a number of theories online about their origin, with some believing them to have been planted by police so rioters could be issued more severe charges, to outside agitators attempting to stir up more trouble.
‘Looks like a set up to me,’ tweeted protest supporter ICE T, who has often spoken out against police brutality. ‘There’s ALWAYS more than meets the eye,’ he continued.
It comes as U.S. officials say they are investigating whether extremist groups have infiltrated police brutality protests.
Authorities are said to be looking into whether these groups deliberately tipped the demonstrations towards violence after chaos erupted in dozens of American cities this weekend.
In Washington, where protesters raged outside the White House, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser said the groups seemed, at the least, organized to destroy with tools to break windows and distribute materials.
John Miller, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner of intelligence and counterterrorism, said the NYPD has a ‘high degree of confidence anarchist groups planned violent interactions and vandalism’.
‘Complex network of scouts were in place to direct breakaway groups to commit vandalism with rocks and accelerants,’ he said.
And in tweets Sunday, Trump blamed anarchists and the media for fueling violence. Attorney General William Barr pointed a finger at ‘far left extremist’ groups. Police chiefs and politicians accused outsiders of coming in and causing the problems.
‘Looks like a set up to me,’ tweeted protest supporter ICE T, who has often spoken out against police brutality. ‘There’s ALWAYS more than meets the eye,’ he continued
The discovery of the piles of bricks and rocks have prompted a number of theories online about their origin, with some believing them to have been planted by police so rioters could be issued more severe charges, to outside agitators attempting to stir up more trouble
Tens of thousands of protesters took to the streets across America again Sunday, with peaceful demonstrations against police killings of black people overshadowed by unrest that ravaged cities from Philadelphia to Los Angeles and flared near the White House.
City and state officials deployed thousands of National Guard soldiers, enacted strict curfews and shut down mass transit systems to slow protesters’ movements, but that did little to stop parts of many cities from again erupting into mayhem.
Protesters in Philadelphia hurled rocks and Molotov cocktails at police, officials said, while thieves in more than 20 California cities smashed their way into businesses and ran off with as much as they could carry — boxes of sneakers, armloads of clothes, and cellphones, TVs and other electronics.
In Minneapolis, where Floyd died, a tanker truck driver drove into a massive crowd of demonstrators, and the driver was arrested.
Tensions spiked outside the White House, the scene of three days of demonstrations, where police fired tear gas and stun grenades into a crowd of more than 1,000 chanting protesters across the street in Lafayette Park.
In Washington, where protesters raged outside the White House, most of the 17 people arrested were from the area
A protester (THUG) throws a traffic barrel at police during a protest in Brooklyn on Saturday night
At least 4,400 people have been arrested over days of protests, according to a tally compiled by The Associated Press.
As demonstrations spread from Minneapolis to the White House, New York City and overseas, federal law enforcement officials insisted far-left groups were stoking violence.
Meanwhile, experts who track extremist groups also reported seeing evidence of the far-right at work.
Investigators were also tracking online interference and looking into whether foreign agents were behind the effort.
Officials have seen a surge of social media accounts with fewer than 200 followers created in the last month, a textbook sign of a disinformation effort.
The investigations are an attempt to identify the network of forces behind some of the most widespread outbreak of civil unrest in the U.S. in decades.