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.