Bay Briefs

Monday May 14, 2001

Boy shot by cops could get $1 million 

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A boy accidentally shot by San Francisco police would get more than $1 million under a proposed settlement recommended by the city attorney’s office. 

Max Castro, 12, was hit in the left knee last year after police responded to a 911 call the boy made. Authorities believe that a rookie officer was aiming at one of the Castro family’s dogs, which was biting his partner. The boy was hit by a bullet fragment that ricocheted off the floor. 

Max, his mother and grandmother filed the suit in December, asking unspecified damages for loss of future earning capacity, pain and suffering and medical bills. 

Police Commission records show that the Castro suit is on its Wednesday agenda. The commission still has to approve the settlement, as does the Board of Supervisors. 

Castro family attorney Angela Alioto said Max Castro had been through enough trauma without enduring a lengthy trial. The growth plate in his knee was hit, and he faces a series of risky or painful surgeries. He also faces the probability of severe arthritis in the joint. 

Max and his family would receive $925,000 under the settlement, plus $150,000 for future medical needs. 

Suspect gives himself up to police 

ANTIOCH – A man wanted in connection with the alleged strangling and dismemberment of an Antioch woman surrendered to police on separate charges this week, insisting he was not involved with the killing. 

Edward Lee Cunningham, 38, turned himself in Wednesday on two no-bail warrants stemming from recent probation violations, officials said. 

He was questioned for several hours by police about the April 13 disappearance of Margaret Bernard, 62, whose remains were found a week later in Solano and Sierra counties, officials said. 

Authorities already have filed murder charges against Bernard’s daughter, Kendra Bernard, 38, who officials say has been romantically involved with Cunningham. Police are not ruling out the possibility of other suspects. 

Court documents released last week indicate that Margaret Bernard was killed some time over the Easter weekend. Her body was found at the base of a hill in Sierra County, but her head, hands and feet were found in Solano County. Several knives, a machete and an ax were found at both sites, along with other evidence. 


Asian Americans wary of movie’s influence 

SAN FRANCISCO – Bay Area Asian Americans say they’re apprehensive the new movie “Pearl Harbor” could rekindle animosity and mistrust toward Japanese and other groups. 

The movie focuses on the events of December 7th, 1941, when Japanese bombers descended on American troops and warships in Hawaii. 

Mistrust caused the U.S. government to imprison people of Japanese descent, many of them U.S. citizens, in relocation camps during World War II. 

John Tateishi, president of the Japanese American Citizens League, was consulted by Disney studios and producer Jerry Bruckheimer on the movie’s script. Tateishi said the script is largely fair to Japanese characters, but he worries movie-goers will dwell on the attack and the attackers. 

The Organization of Chinese Americans and other Asian groups plans to launch an education campaign before the film’s Memorial Day release. 


‘Senioritis’ not students’ fault, professor says 

STANFORD – High school seniors guilty of slacking off after getting their college acceptance letter in the mail aren’t necessarily lazy. 

At least, so says Stanford education professor Michael Kirst. 

Kirst attributes the so-called senioritis to inadequate testing requirements and a college admissions schedule that doesn’t force students to work hard after the first semester of senior year. 

Kirst says that lack of work caused 66 percent of students admitted to the California State university system to fail at least one placement test. Many students require remedial classes when they start school. 

Kirst said colleges should set knowledge requirements and reject students who don’t pass those standards at year’s end. High school teachers should also gear curriculum throughout senior year toward subjects that will be revisited in college.