CINCINNATI — Cincinnati police have a new ally in their fight against crime, whether they want it or not.
He calls himself Shadow Hare, and he wears a mask and a cape to conceal his true identity. He’s Cincinnati’s own version of a superhero fighting crime and injustice where he finds it.
“We help enforce the law by doing what we can in legal standards, so we carry handcuffs, pepper spray … all the legal weapons,” said Shadow Hare. “We will do citizen’s arrests. We will intervene on crimes if there is one happening in front of us.”
The man behind Shadow Hare’s mask is 21 years old and from Milford. Those are the only clues to his true identity that he will reveal. Shadow Hare said he was abused as a child and grew up in foster homes, perhaps leading him to a life helping others.
“My message to Cincinnati is that there is still hope and all we have to do is stand together,” he said.
Shadow Hare is not alone in his quest to fight crime. He heads up a group of men — and one woman — called the “Allegiance of Heroes.” The members communicate with each other in online forums. Among the members are Aclyptico in Pennsylvania, Wall Creeper in Colorado and Master Legend in Florida.
“I’ve even teamed up with Mr. Extreme in California — San Diego — and we were trying to track down a rapist,” said Shadow Hare.
The crime fighters will often pair up to patrol the streets. Even so, fighting crime comes with its share of hardship.
Shadow Hare said he suffered a dislocated shoulder two years ago while trying to help a woman who was being attacked.
And the authorities don’t always take him seriously. In one encounter with a Hamilton County corrections officer, Shadow Hare was greeted with a chuckle and a look of disbelief.
But Shadow Hare said he and his team are not deterred by the criticism. He remains focused on trying to make Cincinnati a better place, whether it’s fighting crime or feeding the homeless.
For now, the law is on Shadow Hare’s side.
It is legal in Ohio and Kentucky to make a citizens arrest, however, the arrester does face possible civil litigation if the person arrested turns out to be innocent.