Last year, 37-year-old Chau Van — an accountant from San Leandro — was a little surprised to hear his face appeared on an Oakland most wanted list for a February 2012 assault originally called a shooting by Oakland PD. He hid in his home for a week as his name and photo was plastered all over the local news before going to the police station to get everything cleared up. Instead of straightening things out and getting back to his number-crunching, Van was arrested.
"Today we have one less criminal on our streets," Police Chief Howard Jordan said in a statement after Van's arrest. "Today a victim is one step closer to justice."
According to reports, he was released after police determined there was not enough evidence to prosecute him. According to his lawyers who are now helping him sue the crap out of the Oakland PD, he was "a law-abiding citizen with no history of violence."
"He is an upstanding member of the community and has always lived a respectable life," his lawyer said. It is worth noting that the San Francisco Chronicle reports police may have had Van's photo on file from a 2007 drunk driving arrest.
Though Van was released seventy-two hours after his arrest, he remained on Oakland's Most Wanted for another 6 months. It wasn't until Van filed a damage claim with the city that he was finally removed.
His lawsuit seeks unspecified costs and punitive damages for defamation, false arrest and violation of his civil rights. Good times!