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Photos do not show bricks left for protesters in Atlanta suburb

June 3, 2020 GMT

CLAIM: Residents in the Atlanta suburb of Brookhaven should be on alert. Bricks have been placed on sidewalks in the area for protesters who are moving out of cities and plan attacks on homes in the suburbs.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Bricks shown in the photos were recently delivered to a home in Brookhaven for a home improvement project, Brookhaven police said.

THE FACTS: Photos of stacks of bricks, piles of stones and construction debris in various locations have been circulating on social media with false claims that they were left to be used during protests around the death of George Floyd. The widely shared posts suggest that the bricks prove the protesters are planning ahead for violence.

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Brookhaven is one of the latest cities to be targeted.

Brookhaven Deputy Chief Brandon Gurley told The Associated Press that as soon as the bricks were delivered for the homeowner’s project, people driving by began snapping photos. He said the bricks have nothing to do with protests taking place in the state.

“Those bricks were purchased by the homeowners whose house they were sitting at for a home improvement project and they have since been removed because they are being used for that home improvement project,” Gurley said.

The police department addressed the rumor on Facebook and Nextdoor, a neighborhood discussion platform, after they saw posts online and received a phone call about the issue.

“They are moving out of the big cities and now planning attacks on people’s houses in Atlanta...... if you live in Brookhaven hopefully you believe in your 2nd amendment rights,” one Facebook post shared Wednesday said.

False posts featuring photos of bricks and other materials with claims they were aimed at fueling violence at protests began circulating widely last week. A Los Angeles neighborhood, Frisco, Texas, and the community around Northeastern University in Boston, are among the areas that have been targeted.

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This is part of The Associated Press’ ongoing effort to fact-check misinformation that is shared widely online, including work with Facebook to identify and reduce the circulation of false stories on the platform.

Here’s more information on Facebook’s fact-checking program: https://www.facebook.com/help/1952307158131536