California man claims reputation hurt by being wrongly placed on 'Most Wanted' list

A lawyer for a man who claims he was wrongly added to a California city’s “Most Wanted” list says it is a “scandalous error,” while the city’s police department is defending its actions.

Chau Van, 37, filed a lawsuit against Oakland on March 5 that said his reputation was “irreparably harmed,” KTVU reports.

Van’s name and image first appeared during a Feb. 7, 2012, news conference on Oakland gang violence, in which Police Chief Howard Jordan said he was wanted for a shooting.

A week later, Van visited the Oakland Police Department to clear up the confusion but was searched and held in custody for three days before being released, the lawsuit says. At the time, Jordan said in a press release that one of Oakland’s most wanted criminals had surrendered and that he was wanted for assault, not a shooting, KTVU reports.

On Friday, Jordan stood behind the police department’s actions, saying in a statement that Van is still an identified suspect for an incident in which a man was nearly beaten to death with a baseball bat in December 2011. The investigation into the beating is still ongoing, the Oakland Tribune reports.

Van was never charged for that beating, his attorney said.

A status conference on the case is scheduled for June 7.

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