Last week an attorney representing former San Leandro resident Chau Van, 37, filed a federal lawsuit against the city of Oakland.
The suit said Oakland "irreparably harmed" Van's reputation by keeping him on "Most Wanted" list in 2012 after investigating, but not charging him, in connection with an assault that occurred in 2011.
Late Friday Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan issued a statement saying Van remains a named suspect in a 2011 incident in which a man was nearly beaten to death with a baseball bat.
Jordan said Van surrendered himself to police after being identified as a suspect at the time, and was picked out of a police line up by the victim. Van was subsequently released but remains a suspect in an "open, active investigation" according to Jordan.
The statement does not say why Van was not charged.
But the Oakland Tribune cites "law enforcement sources" as saying the victim quit cooperating and a witness gave inconsistent statements, prompting prosecutors to decline to press charges.
"The fact that these charges were not immediately filed does not mean the arrest was unlawful or unwarranted," Jordan said in his statement.
Jordan added that "at no time was Mr. Van’s name or photo maintained on a 'Most Wanted List,' nor does the Department maintain a 'Most Wanted List' made available to the public as alleged."
Van, however, is named in a press release titled "Most Wanted Man Turns Himself In" issued last February — which has been removed from the City of Oakland website but remains cached on internet archives. A previous press release also includes Van alongside three other suspects of unrelated crimes under a "most wanted" heading.