On Aug. 25, 2020, amid an anti-police violence protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Kyle Rittenhouse shot three men, leaving two dead and one wounded. He was 17 years old at the time and claimed self-defense.
Rittenhouse was later arrested and charged with seven counts for the shootings, two of which were dismissed during trial. On Nov. 19, in the Kenosha courtroom, he was acquitted of:
- Count 1: First-degree reckless homicide, use of a dangerous weapon
- Count 2: First-degree endangering public safety, use of a dangerous weapon
- Count 3: First-degree endangering public safety, use of a dangerous weapon
- Count 4: First-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon
- Count 5: Attempted first-degree intentional homicide, use of a dangerous weapon
The Associated Press reported Rittenhouse could have faced life in prison had the jury found him guilty of the five counts.
Ahead of the verdict, photos of stacked bricks circulated on Twitter and Facebook, claiming stacks of bricks were “everywhere in Kenosha.” TEGNA sister station WUSA previously reported photos of stacks of bricks are regularly shared amid protests, or at protests sites, to imply the bricks were intentionally staged for use as weapons or for looting.
One blog post with photos of stacked bricks was shared hundreds of times across Facebook, and the same blog post was shared on messaging app Telegram, viewed more than 389,000 times. The Gateway Pundit, an outlet with a history of publishing conspiracy theories and misinformation, also used the photo as a lead image for an article on the topic.
Was this photo of stacked bricks taken ahead of the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict in Kenosha, Wisconsin?
No, the photo is not from Kenosha, Wisconsin, and was not taken ahead of the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict. The Frisco Police Department in Texas posted the photo to Twitter in June 2020.
WHAT WE FOUND
VERIFY used RevEye, an image reverse search tool, to trace the photo to a Frisco Police Department tweet.
On June 1, 2020, the Frisco Police Department in Texas posted the brick photo, writing: “Frisco PD has responded and investigated the report of bricks near where a planned protest is to be held. It was determined that the bricks were part of a planned HOA construction project and with permission they have been removed to be returned at a later time.”
VERIFY could not confirm who took the original photo.
The City of Kenosha Police Department on Nov. 17 tweeted that the city was aware of “misinformation” spreading on social media, saying “to date, there is no credible threat to public safety.”
“KPD is aware of numerous attempts by malicious actors to spread disinformation on various social media platforms. To date, there is no credible threat to public safety. For factual and accurate information please follow @KenoshaPolice and Kenosha Police Department on Facebook,” the tweet said.
VERIFY emailed the Kenosha Police Department to ask if piles of bricks were staged across Kenosha ahead of the verdict, and Lt. Joe Nosalik responded: “No bricks!”