Seattle 'superhero' Phoenix Jones arrested over pepper-spray allegations
Costumed vigilante crime-fighter held by police after allegedly trying to break up a fight with pepper spray
Phoenix Jones has gained fans, and a camera crew, over the past few years with his exploits. Photograph: Dean Rutz/APSeattle's most prolific self-styled superhero has ended up in handcuffs.
Police officers arrested the 23-year-old man who calls himself Phoenix Jones early on Sunday after he allegedly assaulted several people with pepper spray. He was held in county jail on four counts of assault, with arraignment set for Thursday, police said.Jones, who wears a black mask with yellow stripes and a bodysuit, said he was only trying to stop a street brawl.
"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," said Seattle police spokesman Detective Mark Jamieson.Jones wrote on his Facebook page in capital letters that he wouldn't "ever assault or hurt another person if they were not causing harm to another human being". He also released a video said to have been filmed during the alleged assault.
The often shaky video shows Jones and his sidekick, known as Ghost, running toward a group of people. Jones said there was a fight in the group, but police said there was no sign of one.The footage goes on to show Jones breaking up the group. Then a woman screams at him, hitting him with her high-heel shoes. Jones appears to be holding his pepper spray canister. 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 plate number. A person with Jones is heard calling police 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 pepper spray in my eye!"
Two men in the group approach Jones, who then appears to pepper spray them.Jones has been the most public face of a group of vigilante crime-stoppers to show up in Seattle in the past few years. His exploits have garnered much media attention, and he has had a camera crew trailing him in recent months.Peter Tangen, a volunteer spokesman for Jones, said on Monday that police didn't have any interest in the alleged hit-and-run, but rather have an agenda against the masked crime-fighter
."They're on a mission to stop Phoenix Jones from what he's doing, which is legal," Tangen said.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 (police), he continues to try to resolve things on his own".Jones has nearly 4,400 friends on his Facebook page, and says that he's married to a woman with the name PurpleReign.Police weren't impressed with his Phoenix Jones persona, however. He was booked under Benjamin John Francis Fodor.