Video does not show Boston police officers planting bricks at protest sites
CLAIM: Video shows Boston police officers planting bricks at locations where protests are being held calling for justice in the death of George Floyd.
AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. The video does not show officers from the Boston Police Department, but police officers with Northeastern University who were unloading bricks from their truck after removing them from a sidewalk.
THE FACTS: The video captures the officers unloading bricks from a black pickup truck after they removed them from a sidewalk due to concerns they could be used in upcoming demonstrations.
On Monday, the officers came across a damaged brick sidewalk while patrolling the campus. They notified the Boston Mayor’s Office through its 311 line that they would be collecting about 200 of loose bricks from a sidewalk at the corner of Tremont and Coventry streets. The city confirmed they were notified about the bricks being removed.
A Google Earth view of the street from 2019 shows bricks missing and grass growing over the bricks in that location.
“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,” the Northeastern University Police Department tweeted Tuesday.
Posts online shared the video of the officers unloading the bricks from their truck to suggest that their actions were part of a larger conspiracy theory. Reports circulating on social media in recent days claim the bricks are being placed at protest locations in the U.S. to encourage violence, and provide proof the protests are staged.
“Not surprised at all. This explains why mounds of bricks miraculously appeared near protest areas. No construction work anywhere but bricks just appeared.......,” one post on Facebook said with the video showing the officers unloading the bricks.
The video, taken from above, shows the officers unloading bricks while two people question the officers’ actions. The video was viewed more than 2 million times on Twitter and liked more than 50,000 times.
At first one person in the video says that the police could be collecting bricks so protesters don’t use them, but then goes on to suggest they are doing it for undercover police officers getting involved in the protest so “they have an excuse to beat the shit out of people.”
“If you know how, save this to your phone Boston Police planting bricks amid protests,” one Facebook with more than 26,000 views and 1,100 shares on Facebook said.
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