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Poll: Did Alameda police get the right guy?

Stephen Petersen’s supporters are certain that their friend did not start the three arson fires he is accused of setting in the wee hours of September 28th. Even people not connected to Petersen have questioned on social media, and other forums, whether or not police arrested the right person. Yet, the authorities must have some basis on which to hold him. Alameda Mayor Gilmore has urged the district attorney to prosecute the accused, if proven guilty, to the maximum extent allowed by law. What does it look like from your perspective?

Is Stephen Petersen guilty of arson?

  • He's innocent (76%, 183 Votes)
  • Let's hear all the facts first! (22%, 54 Votes)
  • He's guilty (2%, 5 Votes)

Total Voters: 242

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15 comments to Poll: Did Alameda police get the right guy?

  • Joe Yaple

    I have known Stephen for a few years. The idea that he would be guilty of doing ANYTHING wrong like this is absolutely ridiculous. Furthermore, the fact that he is being accused and held with no evidence is frightening. The authorities have an innocent man in jail.

  • KTVU reported that APD had a witness, but they would not confirm that to me…

  • Elisabeth Eliassen

    An essential question is was there probable cause AND evidence? Surely, the say so of a single witness to his presence in one area or another could not be all they have to bind either man over for trial. Remember, this is an election year, and the police who support the mayor’s campaign, need to show “proven effectiveness”.

  • And the firefighters must prove how indispensable they are, too. I hope they weren’t just bored…

  • Gutierrez was reportedly caught on video behind 1600 Park Street, but so far APD has not said that Petersen was caught on video, just Gutierrez.

  • Wendy

    Something’s rotten here. I don’t know this guy from Adam, but gut told think he’s innocent right when heard the story. I hope karma and justice nabs the right person (s). I don’t know why the media is not on this one. Time for a call to Michael Moore!

  • Patrick Berton

    Marian are you implying that the firefighters were responsible for setting one or more of the fires to prove their worth.

  • I don’t know Stephen, but from analyzing the information available, his arrest is highly questionable, to say the least. The conflicting times and places reported of his arrest are what first got my attention. My analysis here:

  • Sven

    From what this case has shown from what I consider myself having an “unbiased standpoint” on this situation, I believe Petersen is not guilty of the charges at hand. Although I think in retrospect if we find out he is considered guilty of these charges, the media light that has been shed of his “friends” boasting about how he is not an arsonist should make us realize that not everyone is who they really are. Case for example do not rush to judge the “good guy” in a case like this because being the “good guy” is a perfect alibi to then go out and commit events such as these. Also Guitierrez has a sympathetic story as-well “being a father and wanting to turn a new leaf” but these should have no significance in court nor media coverage, both suspects have been seen at the crime scenes, and identified as suspects.

    Best of luck due trial date


  • Heather

    Knowing Stephen since he was a kid and being best friends with his brother and extremely close to his family, I know deep in my heart of hearts he DID NOT do this. Of course he was seen in the area, he was walking home from work! A job he works every Saturday night. I am so worried that our system is once again going to fail us. And if this other guy arrested truly wants to turn his life around for his son… He needs to start by being honest about this situation and these fires!! I’m heartbroken. Today is Stephens bail hearing/arraignment, whatever you want to call it, and I’m praying these charges will be dropped and he can come home to his friends and family!!!

  • frank

    It is ironic that in a City where we are ‘championing’ young new Millennials without cars this is what got Stephen arrested. It he had a car and actually drove home from work none of this would have occurred.

    If you look at the ‘Timeline’ what are the probabilities that two individuals with no previous associations would independently decide to commit Arson on the same night. It makes NO SENSE. Really this is a story that needs to be told but isn’t. Perhaps due to Election Politics. I commend the young people of Alameda for coming to his defense.

    I urge the old people to get off their collective butts and out of their safety zones and review the facts of this arrest. With the impending ‘plea bargain’ of the the other suspect I fear that it might include false testimony against Stephen. I do not know Stephen Petersen but have been following this from Day one and strongly feel that he has been unjustly accused.

  • As an Alamedan who has been given a ticket for a going thru a stop sign that wasn’t there [yes, I beat the ticket], I can also say I have been unjustly accused by APD. It was still a pain in the butt to spend the time on written declaration & you don’t get the admin fee back. Our APD do make mistakes, and it just doesn’t help matters when our mayor is so quick to call for prosecution when it seems clear APD failed to perform Due Diligence before making an arrest.

  • lt.Dan

    No one has shown or provided evidence of stephen doing anything,all they have is some flimsy evedence or they would have shown us something/anything….they have revealed thier evidence on the gutirez guy,but have only some flimsy testimony from someone giving the description of clothing that gutirez(think that was his name but dont care if its right he is the arson)was wearing and not stephen……..

    the chief of police has been quoted saying it was one of the fastest arrests for arson and and in my honest opinion willing to hang an innocent man(stephen)because its election time and it will make the alameda D.A. And chief of police hero’s,i believe the real truth is they got the gutirez guy who more than likely started all the fires and two bad guys look better than one. Shady at any cost, when did our justice system change from innocent until proven guilty to guilty and harrased until further notice?

  • Elisabeth Eliassen

    Now that Stephen has been released because the charges have been dropped against him due to insufficient evidence (as in NO EVIDENCE), I think we should look at Gilmore’s letter as sheer grandstanding in the run up to the election –trying to muscle a vote on law and order competence.

    Well, she has shown herself to be incompetent and the police look like fools. Do we really think that other guy did all of that? Could there be perpetrators still at large? Do the police have more than just video tape of a person resembling the transient lighting one fire? This is a real black eye for APD and the mayor’s office. I’m voting for Spencer.