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March 03, 2004

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Palo Alto Online

Publication Date: Wednesday, March 03, 2004

News digest News digest (March 03, 2004)

City settles with man allegedly beaten by officers

An African-American Palo Alto resident, allegedly beaten by two police officers last summer, has settled his legal claim against the city, and will receive $250,000.

Albert Hopkins was requesting compensation from damages stemming from the July 13, 2003 incident, including a claim that his civil rights were violated. The two Palo Alto officers allegedly grabbed him out of his car and then beat him with their clubs and fists.

Hopkins' attorney, his brother Joe Hopkins, did not wish to comment on the settlement, except to confirm that an agreement had been reached.

After the alleged evening attack, Hopkins had knee surgery. According to the claim, filed in August, Hopkins suffered "great physical and emotional pain and distress, shock to his nervous system, humiliation, embarrassment, fear, anxiety, degradation, and loss of freedom" as a result of the beatings.

Both officers -- Craig Lee and Michael Kan -- are facing felony charges that they committed assault under color of authority. They will next appear in court on April 12.

The two officers remain on leave, pending the results of an ongoing internal investigation.

No other details were available about the settlement at press time, but the Palo Alto City Council was expected to hear a report on the settlement during its council meeting on Monday night. -- Bill D'Agostino
Opportunity Center closer to goal

The planned Opportunity Center in Palo Alto is $450,000 away from it's fund raising goal in order to begin construction. The center, which will include two drop-in centers for homeless people and 89 low-cost apartments, will be built next to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation off El Camino Real near downtown.

Total cost of the project is $23.8 million and has largely been met by using public funds, but one-quarter of the cost is coming through private donations.

Construction of the center is expected to begin sometime this summer and will take about 18 months. --Don Kazak
School district, locals meet to plan for future

School district staff, students and community members came together at the end of last week to brainstorm ideas and goals they think should be part of the district's three-year plan.

The school board is expected to hold a study session March 30 to go over results of the late-February discussions and come up with the district's goals for the next three years.

Locals and educators holed up at Hewlett-Packard's Sand Hill Road campus Thursday afternoon, all day Friday and part of Saturday. On Friday, attendees split into groups and then came together to talk about what they thought were important goals for the district to accomplish in the next three years.

Goals discussed included building a public-private partnership for district funding and having a school environment that nurtures aspects of learning other than academics.

"I think there's a huge amount of brain power in this room and some very strong subjects being discussed," PTA Council treasurer and Addison Elementary site council chair Pat Markevitch said.

The last district strategic planning event was in December 2000. --Rachel Metz

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