Unwanted help from Seattle 'superhero' lands him in handcuffs

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by KING 5 News and Associated Press

KING5.com

Posted on October 10, 2011 at 9:09 AM

Updated Monday, Oct 10 at 5:35 PM

SEATTLE -- Seattle's self-proclaimed superhero known as Phoenix Jones was arrested early Sunday and accused of assaulting several people with pepper spray. Jones has now posted video of the incident online.

Officers arrested the 23-year-old man, identified in police reports as Benjamin John Francis Fodor. He was released on bond and is due to be arraigned Thursday. Police reported the victims were sprayed after leaving a nightclub.

The man who wears a black and yellow costume said he was trying to break up a fight. Video of the incident, shot by Jones' friend Ryan McNamee, showed Jones running down a street toward a group of people. A woman is then seen chasing Jones in the street, yelling at him and hiting him with her shoe.

Moments later a BMW car appears and speeds away on the street, almost hitting an unidentified man. Jones chases after the car to get the license number. A person with Jones is heard calling 911 to report a hit-and-run.

Jones and his followers then approach the rest of the group down the block. A woman screams at them to "stay away." Another woman runs up to Jones and hits him, screaming at him, "You sprayed [expletive] pepper spray in my eye!" and "It's not [expletive] Halloween!"

Jones can be heard saying, "I have body armor, so I'm okay," and "I don't want to pepper spray you! I don't want to hurt you!"

A short time later, two men approach Jones, and he then appears to pepper spray them.

"Our message has been the same from the beginning, if you see something that warrants calling 911, call 911," Seattle police spokesman Det. Mark Jamieson told the Associated Press. "Just because he's dressed up in costume, it doesn't mean he's in special consideration or above the law. You can't go around pepper spraying people because you think they are fighting."

Jones has been the most public face of a group of vigilante crime stoppers to show up in Seattle in the last couple of years. His exploits have garnered much media attention, and he's had a camera crew trailing him in recent months.

Jones and his crew eventually run to the nearby ferry terminal to wait for police, but they are kicked out by security.

When police arrive, one person heard off camera, apparently an officer, says “We’re about to arrest the whole bunch of you and clean things up. We’re tired of this game.”

Jones released the video of the incident on his Facebook page Monday and posted this message:

"MY WIFE AND I HAVE DECIDED TO POST THE VIDEO OF THE RECENT INCIDENT THAT HAS BEEN IN THE NEWS THE VIDEO WILL BE POSTED IN ITS ENTIRETY UNEDITED RAW FOOTAGE THERE WILL BE SCREEN SHOTS TO BETTER VIEW THE CRIME I WITNESSED AND STOPPED ALSO IF YOU KNOW THE PERSON INVOLVED IN THE HIT AND RUN/ATTEMPTED MURDER OF THE MAN I SAVED PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL POLICE (I HAVE A SCREEN SHOT OF THE LICENSE PLATE AND WILL PROVIDE IT TO THE POLICE ALONG WITH YOUR STATEMENT) AS SOON AS MY LEGAL TEAM HAS FULLY REVIEWED THE VIDEO I WILL POST IT FOR YOU HERE (HOPEFULLY WITHIN THE NEXT FEW HOURS)"

Jones and supporters have been conducting late night patrols since last year in Seattle.

On the police report, the officer wrote that Jones "has had a history of injecting himself in these incidents. Recently there have been increased reports of citizens being pepper sprayed by [Jones] and his group."

The report goes on to say that although Jones "has been advised to observe and report incidents to 911, he continues to try to resolve things on his own."

In November, KING 5 News reported on the group of crime-fighting vigilantes in Seattle who call themselves the "Rain City Movement."

Associated Press reporter Manuel Valdes contributed to this report.

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