Fact versus fiction

Published 8:06 pm Monday, April 29, 2019

CLAIM: The man accused of throwing a boy over a balcony at the Mall of America was born with a Muslim name, but later changed it to Emmanuel Aranda.

THE FACTS: The man charged in the case was born Emmanuel Aranda, according to Cook County birth records. Social media posts attempt to portray Aranda as Muslim by falsely claiming he was born Abdisaid Mohamed. Prosecutors have charged Aranda with attempted first-degree murder after he was arrested April 12 for throwing a 5-year-old boy from a balcony at the Mall of America, a Minneapolis-area tourist attraction. False Facebook posts say he is a Somali immigrant or legally changed his name to Aranda but birth records show he was born in August 1994 at University of Illinois Hospital in Chicago. No name changes have been made to the record, James Scalzitti, the director of communications at the Cook County Clerk’s Office, told the AP in an email. Records also show Aranda was issued a social security card in his birth name. Bloomington Police, who investigated the mall case, have no information to indicate Aranda has used another name, said Deputy Police Chief Mike Hartley. “We don’t have an alias for him and certainly not that one,” Hartley told the AP. Aranda’s religious affiliation has not been disclosed. The boy who was thrown from the balcony is recovering in a Minnesota hospital.

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.

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