RUNNING AFTER PHOENIX JONES – A Man On The Street Report

Originally posted: http://www.forcesofgeek.com/2011/10/running-after-phoenix-jones-man-on.html
By Tea Krulos
Editor’s note: Tea Krulos regularly wrote about RLSH for FOG! before stepping back to concentrate on his book.  He was with Phoenix Jones during his arrest last weekend and shared his experience with Forces of Geek.
At some point last year, I felt like I was pretty much done with travel and research for my upcoming book, Heroes in the Night. I kicked my feet up on my desk and reflected on all the interesting things that had happened to me- over a dozen patrols in Milwaukee, two trips to Minneapolis, a Real Life Super Hero (RLSH) conference in New Bedford, Massachusetts. I went to Brooklyn and met the New York Initiative and traveled to Vancouver for a meet up during the Winter Olympics. It was an adventure.
But last November there was a big development to the story. A costumed crime fighter had emerged in Seattle named Phoenix Jones, leader of the Rain City Superhero Movement (RCSM). Jones began grabbing a lot of media attention, which became perpetual as more and more wild stories about him came in- Phoenix Jones got his nose broken in a fight, Phoenix Jones stopped a car break in, Phoenix Jones let Rainn Wilson taze him to show he could take a taze.
With all of this attention, I soon realized that readers would expect me to write about this individual, that a serious book on the subject of RLSHs could not bypass the road to Phoenix Jones. I established contact with him and did an interview with him via phone for the Heroes in the Night blog.
I realized that in order to do a proper job writing about him, I would have to take a trip to Seattle to hit the streets with Jones in person.
Last week, I flew to Portland, where I met some of the local RLSH. I then took a train up to Seattle for the weekend. On Friday night I was picked up from a friend’s house by Phoenix Jones and his team mate, Mist. Jones was wearing a baseball cap and sweatshirt over his “super suit” (as he calls it) to disguise his disguise while driving. We drove to the University District where his team mates Ghost and Pitch Black joined us. Also along for the patrol- Seattle writer A.J. Roberts and Ryan McNamee, who shot video.
The patrol was a long night of walking around, and somewhat uneventful. In the U-District he was mobbed for pictures everywhere he went. He encountered a man so drunk he couldn’t really stand, so he flagged down a taxi and got the man into it. We all parted ways around 3AM. There had been no action.
Saturday night was different.
I met up with Jones around 8PM at the Space Needle. We walked around the area near the Space Needle and I recorded an interview with him as we walked. After that, we headed to a café to have a meeting with his wife, Purple Reign, who gave us a crime report based on crime stats she had found online. Jones also showed me some bullet proof shields and collapsible batons he had, unfurling them with a loud SNIK sound. It raised a few eyebrows in the café.
We then headed out to patrol. McNamee joined us again in the Pioneer Square area- an area I gathered is known to have problems with brawling outside of its bars. We encountered our first incident of the night pretty quickly.
I saw a crowd commotion in front of a bar and yelled to Jones that there was a fight. He immediately barreled into the crowd towards two men fighting. I lost him for a few moments so it isn’t clear to me if he pepper sprayed the men or if the club bouncer did or if both did. Jones took a man sprayed in the face to a nearby food stand, bought a bottle of water and poured it on the man’s eyes, instructing him to blink.
The other man had been sprayed on his shirt and took it off and was extremely irate at Jones. He was across the street yelling- “YOU AIN’T NO REAL(N-bomb)- YOU WILL NEVER BE A REAL (N-bomb)!” He yelled this several times and then switched his mantra to “GET OUT OF HERE YOU WANNABE SPAWN-ASS (expletive)!” and then to “STAN LEE NEVER DREW YOUR BLACK ASS, YOU FAKE ASS SUPERHERO!” At one point he yelled simply, “I (expletive) HATE SUPERHEROES!”
Police arrived and were clearly familiar with Jones. They detained the man for questioning. Later, outside the same club, Jones pepper sprayed another group of men who were fighting- one was bleeding down his face. There were some moments of chaos and the police, who were nearby, showed up quickly. They spoke to Jones and the men fighting and told everyone to go.
We walked around without incident, but then around 1:30 or 2AM, Jones decided to hang around near a suspicious looking group of males that looked kind of gangster. One of them said something about him being a “fake ass Batman” and something along the lines of “you think I care about your pepper spray- look what I got.” He lifted his shirt to show a gun he had in his waistband. Jones got us out of the area and then ran across the street to tell police. Police detained the man.
The famous incident of the night happened around 2:30AM. This has been reported on in news sources around the world, and I gave a detailed report on my blog. Basically, we saw a fight and Jones ran into it. He pepper sprayed a couple of the men fighting, but pepper spray is not an exact science. Others nearby felt the spray and it made them very angry. One woman hit him repeatedly with her shoe. The men grouped together to try to attack him and he pepper sprayed them again. They even jumped into their Escalade and tried to run him down before the police showed up. When they arrived they detained Jones and he spent the night in a holding cell, charged with assault. They confiscated his “super suit.”
On Thursday he made a court appearance in his spare super suit. The prosecution did not file charges, but still could at a future date.
None of this has deterred Phoenix Jones. He has continued to patrol and on Saturday, Oct. 15, he led a community patrol inviting the public to walk alongside him.
Jones has long been a controversial member of the Real Life Super Hero world and it looks like it will remain that way.

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9 Comments on “RUNNING AFTER PHOENIX JONES – A Man On The Street Report

  1. Well written post, this post almost confirms the concerns that many RSLH have that PJ jumps into situations pepper spraying suspects before he fully understands what is going on. This is not the image we want for the community, more coolheadedness is needed in these situations. I respect his efforts, and I wish him to continue, but he must handle such situations with care.

  2. Well keeping in mind that he is only 23 and untrained to do this work, he is learning as he goes along and I am sure the arrest was a lesson he won’t soon forget. My fear is that he has become too famous, especially locally. Familiarity breeds contempt. In the beginning naturally thugs backed off when he came charging at them as he was a scary unknown. But now thanks to all of the press, not only is his real identity known but all are aware he is not carrying any firearms, as the thug in the story flashing him his gun demonstrates. I wish he would consider having one member of the RCSH’s go along with him in plain clothes and licensed to carry a firearm. Not to mention practiced at using it. I don’t want the next big Phoenix Jones story I read to be be “Phoenix Jones shot in the head and killed.” But I see it coming and feel helpless to do anything about it.
    Knight-Hood

  3. KnightHood, this is precisely why I say the press is not our friends, they only want a story and in doing so they are willing to expose very secret to get that headline. You can rest assured the press will gladly print the headline, ” Pheonix Jones Shot in The Head.” They will do this with a smile and then ridicule the entire movement as something foolish, not realizing that we do this not for ourselves but as a symbol that the entire world can be better.

  4. On another note, PJ’s popularity has also put the rest of the RLSH’s at risk as well as now we are known and people(Criminals) now know that none of us carry and that we do not have any police-like authority to do what it is that we do. These crimal types may now feel it’s open-season on heroes because now they know everything about our movement, makes me want to stop posting fearing that I may give away unneccessary details of the weapons and protection we as RLSH have.

  5. not our friends? did you see our recent media? its on the home page still. give them what they want, and they will show it. we’ve never had bad press because we never give them anything bad to work with,

  6. UA, I would never include you as a person of bad press material, I think as far as heroes go you and your team are some of the most respectable I Think I’ve watched every video you have on you tube. I only feel that at times we have to be careful how much we allow them to see.

  7. Odin, I get you because the press can really fuck you up, if you let it, but the key in that statement is “if you LET it”. If they see a guy that is out there helping and feeding homeless and deterring crime in areas of the city, that is what they will print. If not, you are no better than a guy in a costume just getting in the way of the law and fucking shit up. Not to say that is how you are, it was a mere example. But we all know that the press is going to print what they want people to read, and what better story than “masked man pepper sprays innocent civilians, still at large” …So honestly the best story is no story.

  8. Precisely why I try to advise these young rlsh’s to train themselves in the use of firearms and get a license to carry a concealed weapon. If you are going to behave as a “volunteer policeman” then you should carry all the same weapons that they carry and know how to use them. Otherwise as the fame of this movement grows, and it is inevitable that it shall, you might as well paint a target on your chest and call yourself Target Man. I have carried a weapon for 22 years and never once had to use it, but I am glad to know it is there. The death of Brother John while feeding the homeless last July should have been a wake up call to every rlsh, but before I stray too far off topic, Phoenix Jones’ celebrity has indeed placed a spotlight on us all, but if it weren’t him it would have been another of us. Just be aware that there are kooks out there who seek there own celebrity by killing the famous, aka John Lennon’s murderer.
    Knight-Hood

  9. I’m still working on the only solution I have to work with as a supporter.
    (Read about it here – http://thelegendofxero.bandcamp.com/track/the-cape-phoenix-jones)
    I can’t stop the media from tearing down PJ, but WE can use this situation to both care for our wounded, and send a message to mainstream media that we don’t need them to keep the idea of HOPE alive amongst our soldiers. Phoenix Jones is in bad shape after a sudden rise to glory. The dark side of media loves to tear down a hero, while the other side is either too cowardly, too apathetic, or too inadequate to make an acceptable retort. I normally wouldn’t post these kinds of thoughts in a completely public forum, but I see it as a MUST that we understand the type of monster we’re dealing with.
    The media USED to be the watchdog of our nation. They once served our nation by blowing a whistle on those who would deceive our nation. They did it with integrity, and without fear, in many cases (ex. Watergate). NOW, they’ve sold us out for a few extras bucks and the right to sell their sensational cartoons, while setting up the world they once served, with distractions and delusions in lieu of the hard truths that don’t satisfy the peoples’ need to believe in something….more entertaining than actual truth.
    But we can stand up to this monster….this Bully. We can shape our destiny by salvaging the good, and making our actions known, lest we settle for verbalizing our fears. When the darkness offers a problem, we must retort with a solution, not another problem. I haven’t seen or heard a whole lot of solutions lately. So here is my solution:
    Help me raise enough money to help Phoenix Jones’ family. Help me raise enough to spit in the eye of whoever got him fired. we don’t need the fickle few in power. we NEED each other. If PJ goes down, YOU ALL GO DOWN WITH HIM! If “they” kill the man, the “idea” is likely to go down as well, but if they can’t KILL Ben Foder, then they can’t KILL Phoenix Jones. They can’t kill PJ because he’s an idea. Ben is real. Ben is tangible, and right now, he’s also vulnerable. SO ARE THE REST OF YOU. If you let Ben go down, you all become a joke that gets logged away in an almanac somewhere. You’ll become an antiquated Pop Culture Reference to be used in some comedian’s routine. We die, because while we were out “Saving the World”, we let one of our own DIE on the world’s stage.
    “He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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