Fact check: Demonstrators erected a cross at Michigan Capitol, not US Capitol

Camille Caldera, USA TODAY

The claim: Demonstrators erected a cross in front of the Capitol

On Jan. 6, hundreds of supporters of President Donald Trump mobbed the U.S. Capitol and forced lawmakers to flee the area as protests turned to riots.

David Harris Jr., a conservative author, posted a video on Instagram of a half-dozen demonstrators hoisting an enormous cross into the sky.

"They just put up a cross in front of the capitol building..." he wrote. His video has been viewed over 150,000 times.

Harris has not responded to a request from USA TODAY for comment.

Other Facebook users shared the video, as well.

Members of the Proud Boys and others help James Chapman of Belleville raise a large red cedar cross he brought as hundreds of Trump supporters gather outside of Michigan’s State Capitol building in Lansing on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 during a rally to pray for Trump.
Members of the Proud Boys and others help James Chapman of Belleville raise a large red cedar cross he brought as hundreds of Trump supporters gather outside of Michigan’s State Capitol building in Lansing on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 during a rally to pray for Trump.

The cross went up at a smaller protest at the Michigan Capitol

It's not clear what "capitol building" the post was intended to refer to. However, demonstrators at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 didn't erect a cross.

A cross went up at a smaller pro-Trump protest at the Michigan Capitol.

The Detroit Free Press captured multiple photos of the effort to raise the cross outside the statehouse in Lansing.

Members of the Proud Boys and others help James Chapman of Belleville raise a large red cedar cross he brought as hundreds of Trump supporters gather outside of Michigan’s State Capitol building in Lansing on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 during a rally to pray for Trump.
Members of the Proud Boys and others help James Chapman of Belleville raise a large red cedar cross he brought as hundreds of Trump supporters gather outside of Michigan’s State Capitol building in Lansing on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 during a rally to pray for Trump.

"Members of the Proud Boys and others help James Chapman of Belleville raise a large red cedar cross he brought as hundreds of Trump supporters gather outside of Michigan’s State Capitol building in Lansing on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 during a rally to pray for Trump," its caption read.

Christian Martinez, a reporter for the Lansing State Journal, also posted a video of the moment on Twitter.

The scenery around the demonstrators and the cross confirms that the footage was shot in Lansing, not Washington, D.C.

Our ruling: Missing context

Based on our research, the claim that demonstrators erected a cross in front of the "Capitol" is MISSING CONTEXT. On Jan. 6, with a mob breaking into the U.S. Capitol in Washington, social media users might be led to believe the cross was raised in D.C. However, demonstrators raised the cross in this video in front of the Michigan Capitol in Lansing.

Our fact-check sources:

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Demonstrators erected a cross at Michigan Capitol