Oust PAPD Officers Michael Kan and Craig Lee
- David L. Taylor
- Closed on
This petition is closed.
On July 13, 2003, at 10:34 p.m., Palo
Alto Police Department (PAPD) rookie
Craig Lee drove his police car up to
59-year-old Albert Hopkins, who was
sitting in his parked car on Oxford
Avenue near the intersection of the El
Camino Real in Palo Alto. Lee asked
Mr. Hopkins for identification. Mr.
Hopkins did not initially give his
name, but later confirmed his identity
and his Palo Alto address.
When PAPD rookie Michael Kan stopped
his police car nearby, Lee spoke to
Kan. Kan walked over and ordered Mr.
Hopkins out of his car, and tried to
pull him out. Kan and Lee repeatedly
hit Mr. Hopkins with their batons,
while Mr. Hopkins tried to ward off
blows. Kan and Lee also doused him
extensively with pepper spray. Mr.
Hopkins was overcome, temporarily
blinded, handcuffed, and transported
to the hospital where he was treated
for body injuries, and a swelling near
PAPD launched an immediate
investigation, which culminated in Kan
and Lee being charged with felony
assault and misdemeanor battery by a
Peace Officer. During the criminal
trial, all of the senior officers
that arrived on the scene that night
testified that they were concerned
that Kan and Lee could not provide a
reason for arresting Mr. Hopkins, and
so there seemed to be no justification
for use of force.
Presented with a strong case against
the two rookies, 8 jurors were certain
Kan and Lee were guilty: a 2-1 margin
favoring conviction. Despite all this,
Kan and Lee are being returned to
their jobs (after a plea deal let them
off with a mere $250 fine), and we are
told: "it's time to put it to rest and
We say there can be no rest until our
leaders realize it's time for Kan and
Lee to move on.
This petition arises not from malice
but the desire to safeguard the
community, as we strongly believe:
1. They are not fit for the job. As a
result of their beating of Albert
Hopkins on July 13 2003, and despite
the shocking deal that drastically
reduced the charges, the fact remains
that Officers Kan and Lee each pleaded
'no contest' to a criminal charge of
an act of illegal public violence
while on duty.
Yet, we have not seen Officers Kan and
Lee publicly take responsibility for
their misconduct. Instead, their court
testimony blamed the victim of their
criminal violence - who was not
arrested for any crime - while
belittling the response of their
supervisors that night. Does this
behavior reflect the discipline and
respect for the law that is
fundamentally required of law
enforcement officers? Or does it
indicate a profound employment
mismatch - that cannot be overcome
with any amount of retraining?
2. They cannot serve the interests of
the Palo Alto community. As reflected
in our budget, the safety of the
community is Palo Alto's highest
priority. As the locus of Silicon
Valley and home of Stanford
University, Palo Alto's community
includes guests welcomed from around
the world, that expect and are
entitled to the universal human right
and Constitutional protection) of
freedom from arbitrary arrest or
detention and unreasonable use of
Given its profound authority, our
police force must not include those
who trample the rights of those they
serve, while rejecting the good
judgment of those they serve under.
3. Continuing their employment poses
unacceptable risks. Studies on police
misconduct, such as the Christopher
Commission report (an examination of
LAPD four months after the King
beating), have found that the heart of
the problem is failure to act upon the
few officers using excessive force.
Those officers frequently then go on
to become repeat offenders, who are
responsible for many of the cases that
cost the city in civil suits.
Palo Alto has already paid a $250,000
settlement for Kan and Lee's use of
force. How much would a jury penalize
the city in the next claim that may
result from their use of force, given
that the city was aware of the risk
and chose to ignore it? With budget
revenue rapidly shrinking, how are
such expenses justified?
Therefore, we call on the City Manager
to immediately take this step toward
freeing Palo Alto from the risks and
stigma of brutal injustice that we
believe Officers Kan and Lee's tenure
here has brought us, and begin
restoring Palo Alto as a community
united in its concern for public
safety and human rights.
We, the undersigned, petition the City Manager to immediately ensure that
Michael Kan and Craig Lee no longer serve as police officers for the City of Palo Alto CA for the reasons stated above.
The Oust PAPD Officers Michael Kan and Craig Lee petition to City Manager, Palo Alto CA was written by David L. Taylor and is in the category Local Government at GoPetition.