A man in a superhero costume
Seattle police have arrested Phoenix Jones, a "real life superhero," for pepper-spraying people. Photo Credit: Piotrus/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA

Seattle police have arrested Phoenix Jones, a “real life superhero,” for assault. Jones, whose real name is Benjamin John Francis Fodor, is part of a small but merry and extremely eccentric band of concerned citizens taking up alter egos to fight crime in communities nationwide.

Super powers apparently included pepper spray

During the past few years, the phenomenon of “real life superheroes” has come to national attention. A growing number of people in various cities are donning costumes to fight crime. One of the most prominent, a Seattle-based superhero who calls himself “Phoenix Jones,” was recently arrested by the Seattle Police Department for assault.

According to CBS, Benjamin John Francis Fodor, alias “Phoenix Jones,” was patrolling the streets of Seattle on Oct. 11 when he and his sidekick, “Ghost,” ran toward a group of four people that Fodor claims were fighting and broke them up, using pepper spray in the process. He then chased after a BMW that nearly hit a pedestrian, after which the four people he said were fighting accosted him.

The Seattle Police was called and arrested Fodor for assault. The peppered party insisted to police they weren’t fighting, and video footage was inconclusive.

Costume confiscated

Fodor’s mask and costume were confiscated. Seattle police say that Fodor has a history of inserting himself in similar situations and pepper spraying people, according to ABC. Several other people complained of being pepper sprayed on the night in question.

Fodor, as “Phoenix Jones,” is part of the “Rain City Superhero Movement.” The group is a collection of like-minded costumed crusaders in Seattle, Wash., including Fodor’s wife, who goes by the name “PurpleReign.”

Not all their ventures are folly. Phoenix Jones, according to a CBS, foiled a possible car robbery in January, by stopping a man from breaking into a car. Most of the “real life superheroes” are unarmed and many also do charitable work, such as taking meals to senior citizens.

Similar groups, like the Black Monday Society in Salt Lake City, Utah, exist nationwide. They have websites like RealLifeSuperheroes.org and SuperheroesAnonymous.com and WorldSuperheroRegistry.com. According to the World Superhero Registry, there are “real life superheroes” in Canada, Britain and Italy.

Curious caped crusaders

A 2008 article from the Times of London recounts another “superhero” who ran afoul of authorities. A Los Angeles-based superhero called “Black Owl” was confined to a mental health facility, according to to his daughter, after he “forgot…for a moment, that he did not have real superpowers. He could not just fly away.”

“Black Owl” was superseded in L.A. by “Mr. Invisible.” “Mr. Invisible” found his costume successfully kept him invisible at times when a drunk didn’t see him in a darkened alley and peed on him. “Mr. Invisible” was retired as of 2008, according to The Times.

Police in Columbia, Tenn., told a 20-year-old “superhero” called “The Viper” to curtail his crime fighting activities in July 2010, according to ABC affiliate WKRN. Police felt he would attract the attention of criminals and they feared for his safety.

Sources

CBS: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20118509-504083.html

ABC: http://abcnews.go.com/US/citizen-superhero-phoenix-jones-arrested-seattle/story?id=14704985

CBS: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504083_162-20027464-504083.html

Real Life Superheroes: http://www.reallifesuperheroes.org/

Superheroes Anonymous: http://superheroesanonymous.com/

World Superhero Registry: http://www.worldsuperheroregistry.com/index.htm

The Times: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article5404186.ece

WKRN: http://www.wkrn.com/story/12763139/masked-superhero-fights-crime-in-columbia?redirected=true

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