Fear and intimidation in Petaluma

This is about the recent assault in downtown Petaluma that sent one youth to the hospital. Most youth in Petaluma know Zack Fortune and either they have been bullied or injured by him and they are too afraid to admit it or they are immaturely siding with him not realizing that they could be next. He assaults and threatens youth throughout this town, largely people who are younger or smaller than himself. He's large, aggressive and definitely not a kid. He assaulted another youth this summer. He is a known felon. He often carries a bat. He threatens people and intimates those who might "tell" the police. This is not the first time he has violated his probation. He is associated with white supremist views, possibly as a gang member. He makes Petaluma a dangerous place to live as do his associates like this Palisano. If you are still sending your youth downtown because you think this is a cozy cute safe town you are dead wrong. Your teens will be met with drugs, extreme peer pressure (that means they will side with the assaulter rather than the assaulted), and aggression. Why do we as adults support this? Why do we look the other way while we merrily send our kids downtown? It's time to grow up Petaluma. These are not "teens" getting in a fight. These are adults who have no conscience and just put an underage youth in a coma. Next time it could by your child. We need to step up the police protection in this town (fund it), and we need to address the bullying that starts in middle school and is sanctioned by our silence. From bullies come felons. Petaluma has become a town I no longer feel safe in.
Check your child's Facebook. If they are saying things like Free Zack, Free Joey, they are glorifying people who are felons, who assault others, and who are dangerous. If they aren't saying anything about it, they are afraid of repercussions. If they come out against it, they are among the few and they will certainly be targeted by these thugs as snitches. I've been living this nightmare myself for six months now ever since my child was threatened. Even now, I'm reluctant to say my name because I fear for my kids. 

Darris February 09, 2014 at 10:29 PM
It takes courage to speak out, thank you. It will take great courage and support for others to speak out against this type of cowardice as well . . .
Sue Hirsch February 11, 2014 at 12:23 AM
Thank you for making us aware. I live in E. Petaluma, and was completely unaware of this issue, until now. I will definitely be cautious when I bring my son w/ me, downtown from now on, for pleasure.
Audrey February 11, 2014 at 05:17 PM
I hate to read this about our town, but bad news is everywhere anymore. I pray the latest victim recovers and that those responsible will be punished to the fullest extent of the law. The City of Petaluma needs to do more to support the PPD and get more officer's on the street, especially on the weekends. The Police Dept. does all it can with the limited number of officers they have on the street at a time.
Sandy Laubert February 11, 2014 at 10:23 PM
This article is written by a victim's parent so it's a bit extreme. I live downtown and see kids all the time by themselves without issue. These bullies probably hang off the beaten path - where most crime occurs. To label downtown dangerous is ridiculous. I'd be more scared walking alone in East Petaluma than downtown.
Audrey February 11, 2014 at 10:49 PM
This mother is obviously upset and rightfully so! She and her child need support and they should be able count on their community. Let's not take sides East vs West, let's band together
Alyssa Giorgi February 11, 2014 at 11:10 PM
I don't know who you are but palisano is a great friend and actually a very caring guy who looks out for his friends and as well does zack and for someone who doesn't know the whole situation to be slandering people who you don't even know just pisses me off. Petaluma is a safe place. There is never a night in which I don't feel safe downtown! And for an outsider to judge based on the little pieces you pull together is very ignorant.
Bailey Quecke February 12, 2014 at 01:01 AM
why don't you save yourself the problem, and tell your kids to stay the fuck away from downtown if it's so unsafe. I'm gonna do myself a favor and flip over to the less ignorant side of the internet.
Mike William Fix February 12, 2014 at 01:10 AM
for one i have know zack for a long ass time and he does not carry a baseball bat with him and joey is a nice guy who actuaaly gives a shit about himself and other
Alexander Sutton February 12, 2014 at 01:18 AM
the petaluma pd are all white supremists themselves so dont fund them more. just teach your kids how to defend themselves and beat the out of people trying to harm them or others. thats the real world
Grant Buck Davis February 12, 2014 at 02:00 AM
From what I remember the author of this article has a son and daughter that know Zack better than I do. I'm pretty damn sure they know more of what actually happened than their mother does.
Katie Scheidt February 12, 2014 at 02:05 AM
I am a sister to what is now a young mother who is lost to those streets of Petaluma. See my youngest sister hung out in the downtown streets of Petaluma for about 10 years before I came out to CA. When I arrived I kept to myself until I was invited by her to go hang out with her and some of her friends @ the river. Let me tell you I was amazed in the things I have heard about and seen. I have witnessed the worst side of Petaluma. There are kids as young as 14 using ecstasy and other drugs far more than any parent would like to know. My sister has a small child now she was barely 18. Her 4yr old is being raised by the rest of the family. Just last month she was found in a known area of Petaluma to be an entrance to a camp. She had been beaten, raped, and was left to wander the streets in 28 degree weather in her underpants. She was so high that she was seeing spiders come after another sister. We tried to have her held against her will to ensure she did not end up dead. But in 48 hours she was let back out on the street. Just yesterday I had a sick feeling of grief and worry in my stomach thinking she is dead in our quiet nooks and crannies of Petaluma. Yes I have seen the dangers lurking in Petaluma personally and I will tell you that your kids are not safe.
Mikhael Selk February 12, 2014 at 03:13 PM
Unfortunately, our town is run largely run by people that support white supremacy. This is a much bigger issue than "kids going downtown." I have personally known three people that were beaten up by white supremacists in the past couple years, and the police did absolutely nothing to stop it from continuing to happen. The problem is, the youth committing these atrocities are related to police and people in city offices. For the violence to stop, we need to educate kids of the importance of equality so they don't just propagate the erroneous ways of their fathers.
Jackie Hegarty February 12, 2014 at 03:39 PM
I live in Petaluma too and would NEVER allow my kids down town with other kids just to hang out. I was a teenager once and know first hand that "hanging out" leads to trouble. Not that you have to look for it, trouble ALWAYS has a way of finding you. As for the "KIDS" or "GANG MEMBERS" white or otherwise,because obviously they are with their ANGER towards the person that wrote this article, ONLY PUNKS HANG OUT!! You are downtown and all around town causing problems because you do not have the proper supervision by adults. This is why this stuff happens even in a town like Petaluma. Parents, adults and caregivers need to pay more attention to what their child(ren) are doing and less time just getting them out of your hair. Start asking more questions and listen to their conversations with other kids, because this is how you protect them.When my kids attended Kenilworth and Casa I NEVER let them WALK to school or home, I was always there to pick them up and drop them off, this way the "IDIOTS" at large knew they had someone looking out for them. They also knew that I would call the police when I would see large groups of kids going to JUMP someone. I would get my information from my kids or like any person with eyeballs could see what was taking place that is how I would know. Also I would start filming them since Petaluma Police aren't always quick to come, this way they could see who was the aggressor and who was the victim. GANGS only get big when everyone turns their head and says or does nothing to stop them. Start by STANDING up to these punks and let their parents deal with the fall out. Sometimes good kids do bad things, but the parents are the ones that need to start taking RESPONSIBILITY for THEIR children's actions. It's sure better than visiting them in jail, hospital or god for bid their grave. PARENTS TIME TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR CHILDREN!!!
Julian Cannone February 12, 2014 at 05:24 PM
Zack just didn't want to see one of his best friends go back to jail. If you knew him you would know he's a great guy with a big heart. Whoever wrote this is crazy and judgmental. Theres nothing wrong with worrying about your childs safety but theres plenty of other people in this town to be worrying about and Zack isn't one of them.
Devan Burns February 12, 2014 at 07:22 PM
This is addressed to the person who posted this as well as those who commented. Firstly I will explain that I hardly know Zack, I do however know Joey, I had a few classes with him and have hung out with him a few times. He is not a bad kid, I have more respect for him than 90% of the people I know. When you describe him as "white supremacist" that is almost into rely incorrect. Yes, he is proud to be white that does not mean he hates blacks, Asians, or Mexicans. In fact he is friends with several people from each if those ethnic backgrounds. If you believe he or even Zack may be part of a gang you may be partly correct. At school they Are referred to as the "bros" and they are mostly made up of whites, however they are not all white. They are not a gang they are similar to cliques such as "band geeks" or the "popular kids" but they are more than that, they are a family, many of them actually related. Let's talk about Zack, while I know his face and who he is I don't believe I've ever really been introduced to him. I have seen him many times never with any weapon of any sorts, nor have I EVER seen him bully or intimidate anyone downtown, he overall seems like a nice guy and from what I heard he did he was merely trying to protect Joey from getting caught up with the police again. What any member of a family would do for another. I've asked around as many people as I could to attempt to understand what has happened, because I know Joey and Zack well enough that they wouldn't do anything without a good reason. While I haven't actually talked to anyone who was there I've been able to confirm a few things. Firstly that this kid who was injured is 16. Second and importantly he hit first. Joey is 19. He retaliated by punching back, whether he knocked him unconscious or if he hit his head on the pavement I don't know. The point is he hit first and brought this upon himself. I understand that he is a minor and Joey is not, and in my opinion it's bullshit that if someone is a "minor" you can't defend yourself from them should they attack you. Moving on to some of the comments. The PPD do not need any more police officers. If I'm walking to my school from my house or even downtown I see a minimum of 5 different officers along my way. And the ones that we do have are not very good at their job. I feel more harassed by the police officers then anyone I'm this town. I've seen them pass large groups of kids smoking cigarettes as well as marijuana to go after some kid minding his own business only because he wasn't wearing a helmet on his bike. As for how dangerous downtown is you should be more worried about some of the older people not too long ago I found a wallet downtown belonging to a 50 year old man, would you like to take a guess as to what it contained? A gram of meth. So while you and all the police officers are harassing us kids about smoking marijuana and being teenagers there are people walking around I undisturbed with meth and no one bothers them because their "respectable" adults. If I misinterpreted the story of what happened in anyway please correct me as I have had trouble figuring out exactly what happened. This was not meant to be insulting or offensive to anyone merely informative to those people who are to ignorant to understand they don't know what's going on and like to run their mouth again no offense meant. One more thing to the person who NEVER let their kid go anywhere or have a life outside of school and home. That's called smothering your child my mother used to be similar although a little less strict than that and I resented her for it, all that does is make your child want to get away from you and go do all these things they are told they can't do
Noah Whatsmynameagain February 12, 2014 at 08:05 PM
OP, pics or it didn't happen.
Susan Rogers February 13, 2014 at 02:12 AM
OK listen everyone has their own opinion that's fine, but bottom line people, listen I work in a grocery store and some of these parents negociate with their children while their throwing a tantrum and throwing merchandise or parent count that's a good one ,while the rest of us suffer we're gonna pay for this now or on 20 years pay for their stay at wining state prison either way if you aren't involved in their lives and they are getting into trouble fights bulling whatever they will turn the wrong way so wake up people someone's looking for attenion/insecure whatever pay attention I don't feel like supporting any more people in prison due to parents not around or in denial coz they think their kids are fine oh do u know the definition of that word is "fine" fucked up, irrational, nerotic and emotional get it
Harley Jessie James February 13, 2014 at 03:01 AM
Ok so not only does sack not carry a bat, he's one of the nicest people I've ever met along with joey and they both have the most respectable morals and values of anyone i know, so to call them bullies is simply ignorant the mother who wrote is still clearly upset that her son doesn't know how to keep his thoughts to himself which may have kept him out of the hospital, not to say that putting him there was right, but aybe if people just mind there own business instead of sticking there nose in someone else's this "bullying" would not occur. Also,to refer to them as gang members is just stupid there are adults who run around this town that actually are gang members and will tell you gladly because they're stupidly proud of it, and lastly to say that because we want our family free means that we are glorifying felons, I hope the next time your child is smoking weed or drinking underage as i here he often does and is driving that he gets arrested and throw in jail, so you know how it feels to have someone you care about be taken away from you, then called a thug and a felon. If you don't like Petaluma personally, then move don't try and make it seem like oakland and scare people from bringing there families downtown
Harley Jessie James February 13, 2014 at 03:01 AM
Julianna Stageberg February 24, 2014 at 09:15 AM
I went to Jr.High and High school with Zack. I stand aboput 5'2 and 135 lbs and would pick on HIM constantly for fun. Only because, he was very sweet and took a joke well. I never felt that he or any of his friends would assault me. Although, we never hung out he always said hi to me and was very friendly and thoughtful of my space. I personally moved out of Petaluma three months ago to have my own daughter and son live somewhere safer. I've walked those streets as a teen and understand what's out there. If its not the people its the drugs. You can't keep your children safe from life. You can either MOVE or deal with it by limiting them to their "outside" time. Good luck!


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