Phoenix Jones, real-life Seattle superhero, arrested for pepper-spray assault
Originally posted: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/phoenix-jones-real-life-seattle-superhero-arrested-for-pepper-spray-assault/2011/10/11/gIQAY1oTcL_blog.html
By Elizabeth Flock
Masked crusader Phoenix Jones, who says he often patrols the streets of Seattle in a superhero suit to stop crime, may have accidentally gotten involved in a crime.
In a situation almost straight out of the movie “Kick-Ass,” Jones is fighting an assault charge for allegedly spraying pepper spray on people, who he says were fighting. Seattle police say the people were dancing.
Jones is out of jail after being held Sunday night.
“Just because he’s dressed up in costume, it doesn’t mean he’s in special consideration or above the law,” Seattle police spokesman Det. Mark Jamieson said of the incident. “You can’t go around pepper spraying people because you think they are fighting.”
Jones, who has been unmasked by police as Benjamin Francis, insists he “witnessed a hit-and-run/attempted murder of a man and he responded to stop it,” according to a Facebook post.
Jones has posted this video as proof that a crime had taken place, though the video is shaky and unclear. In the video, it appears Jones and his sidekick, known as Ghost, run toward a group of people and try to break them up. A woman is then seen running after Jones and hitting him with her shoe. A BMW car appears, almost hits an unidentified man, and a person with Jones says to call 911 to report a hit-and-run.
In an interview with local station 97.3 FM, the woman who hits Jones with her shoe says she didn’t need the help.
Jones was wearing a black and gold superhero costume and a bullet-proof vest, and carrying two cans of pepper spray when police arrived at the scene.
Police took the suit, boots and mask from him, but Jones says he has a backup suit.
Jones is married to a woman he calls PurpleReign, another masked vigilante.
He is also the leader of the Rain City Superhero Movement, a group of self-proclaimed superheroes that has previously been credited with preventing a carjacking. Watch the report from that carjacking below: