The news is by your side.

Solvang born and raised an attorney jailed for kidnapping journalists at stay home protest.


Officers found attorney Petersen still holding the cameraman at knifepoint inside the van.

Staff Report

Born and raised in Solvang , criminal defense attorney Christien Francis Petersen, 36,  is behind bars on suspicion of holding a television journalist at knifepoint after Friday’s protest in Huntington Beach against coronavirus-driven stay-at-home orders.

Petersen was arrested just before 8 p.m. Friday for exhibiting a deadly weapon other than a firearm and for kidnapping, according to the Huntington Beach Police Department log. He remained in custody at the Orange County jail Monday on a $100,000 bond.

Petersen allegedly approached a cameraman and reporter from Fox 11 News while they were reporting a post-demonstration story in downtown Huntington Beach and demanded they delete any video he might be in, the station reported Monday.

Armed with a knife, Petersen then allegedly forced the cameraman into his live van to delete the video. Officers found Petersen still holding the cameraman at knifepoint inside the van, the station said. Police described Petersen as intoxicated.

Jail records list Petersen’s occupation as a lawyer, and the State Bar of California lists a Christien Francis Petersen as having an active license since graduating from Costa Mesa’s Whittier College law school.

A Christien F. Petersen out of Whittier College law school was listed as an associate on the website of the Alvandi Law Group, which focuses on workers’ compensation and has an office in Irvine. He wrote in his LinkedIn profile that he grew up in Solvang, a small town 34 miles north of Santa Barbara, and played rugby as an undergraduate at Westmont College, two things that shaped his outlook on life.

“I’ve come to appreciate more and more where I come from as it has proven an invaluable touchstone in treating people I meet wherever I go just as I would if I had grown up knowing them in Solvang,” he wrote. “Folks deserve to be treated with respect, and I’ll be damned if I don’t at least do that.”

Rugby, Petersen said, “taught me what deserved a conflict and what did not.”

Fox did not air a television report that evening because all raw footage was immediately turned over to Huntington Beach police. The station has not identified the reporter or cameraman but is expected to air further details during a regular broadcast.