'Batman' sentenced to probation, not to wear costumes

Originally posted: http://www.petoskeynews.com/news/courtscrime/pnr-batman-sentenced-to-probation-not-to-wear-costumes-20111018,0,701647.story
By Heather Lockwood
Mark Wayne Williams, 31, of Harbor Springs, is to appear in court for sentencing Monday, Oct. 17, and all other charges in the case have been dismissed, per a plea agreement, Linderman said. Attempted resisting, obstructing a police officer is a one-year misdemeanor, he said.[/caption]
Mark Wayne Williams, the so-called “Petoskey Batman,” has been sentenced to six months probation and is not to wear any costumes during that time, including the one he was wearing when he was arrested in May.
“Mr. Williams completely understands 100 percent why he’s here,” his attorney Bryan Klawuhn told the court during his sentencing hearing in Emmet County’s 57th Circuit Court Monday, Oct. 17. Klawuhn emphasized that Williams did not intend to use the weapons he possessed the night of his arrest and never intended to harm anyone.
Williams, 32, of Harbor Springs, was arrested May 11 after the Petoskey Department of Public Safety received a report of a man on the roof of a downtown business, located in the 400 block of East Mitchell Street, about 12:40 a.m., according to a Petoskey Department of Public Safety news release. Additional information supplied by central dispatch included the fact that the man was dressed as Batman.
Responding officers, including Michigan State Police troopers, saw “a male subject, dressed in a Batman costume, hanging off the western wall of the building,” according to the release. The officers got onto the roof and pulled the man back onto it.
Officers detained the man and located a baton-type striking weapon, a can of chemical irritant spray and a pair of Sap (sand-filled) gloves, according to the release. The suspect was arrested for trespassing and possession of dangerous weapons.


Mark Wayne Williams, a.k.a. Michigan’s “Batman.” (Image via YouTube)

In September, Williams pleaded guilty to one count of attempted resisting, obstructing a police officer in Emmet County’s 57th Circuit Court and all other charges in the case were dismissed, per a plea agreement, Emmet County prosecutor Jim Linderman previously told the Petoskey News-Review.
Williams originally faced one count of carrying a concealed weapon, for allegedly carrying Freeze Plus P, a felony offense, which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison or a $2,500 fine; one count of carrying a concealed weapon, for allegedly carrying a folding steel baton or bludgeon, a felony offense, which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison or a $2,500 fine; one count of carrying a concealed weapon, for allegedly carrying weighted Sap (sand filled) gloves, a felony offense, which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison or a $2,500 fine; one count of dangerous weapon — gas ejective device, a felony offense, which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and, or a $2,500 fine; one count of dangerous weapon — miscellaneous, for allegedly possessing a bludgeon, a felony offense, which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and, or a $2,500 fine; one count of dangerous weapon — miscellaneous, for allegedly possessing a sand bag, a felony offense, which carries a maximum penalty of 5 years in prison and, or a $2,500 fine; and one count of disturbing the peace, a misdemeanor offense with a maximum penalty of 90 days in jail and, or a $500 fine.
Williams experienced a streak of fame after word of his arrest and the circumstances surrounding it spread throughout the community and area businesses touted Batman related promotions and products.
Klawuhn previously told the Petoskey News-Review his client is “harmless.”
Emmet County chief assistant prosecutor Duane Beach did not make light of the case, however.
“The conduct in this case caused the Petoskey Department of Public Safety to take this case very seriously,” he said.
Williams said he was inspired by a movement of citizens who dress up in super hero costumes and attempt to prevent crime and reach out to the homeless.
“I’m definitely not the only person that does it,” he said.
Adding, “I understand I made a big mistake with carrying the items I was carrying. I’m not a violent person at all and I did not intend to use them.”
Williams also told the Petoskey News-Review the reason he climbed onto the roof of the downtown Petoskey business that night was because he was being chased by a group of people and was trying to evade them.
“I just didn’t want to deal with the harassment, so I hid on the roof,” he said.
Circuit court judge Charles Johnson sentenced Williams to six months probation and a condition of that probation is that he is not to wear any costumes. The sentence also included six months in jail, two days forthwith, with credit for two days served, and the remainder held in abeyance.
“You’ve had your 15 minutes of fame and it’s time for you to put it behind you,” Johnson told Williams. “Your actions were certainly blown out of proportion in the media in certain ways.”
After the hearing Klawuhn said, “We’re just happy it’s over. … I think the sentencing is entirely appropriate.”
Williams, who considers himself a costumed activist and has been involved with a group of like-minded people called The Michigan Protectors, said the costumes are intended to draw attention to the cause.
“It’s just a way to draw attention to what we’re trying to do,” he said. “Make people pay attention to what’s going on in their community.”

Real-life superhero movement growing, but not getting warm reception from police

Originally posted:

When Seattle-based masked crusader Phoenix Jones was arrested last week for pepper spraying a group of people he claims were fighting, he piqued the curiosity of thousands across the nation. A real-life superhero? Stopping crime in the dark of night? Suit, boots, mask and all?
It turns out Jones isn’t the only ordinary guy whose nighttime is filled with crime-fighting, caped adventures. The Web site RealLifeSuperheroes.orgboasts 720 members. Posts on the site suggest there are dozens, if not hundreds, of real-life superheroes currently in action in St. Petersburg, Fla., New York City and Milwaukee, among other cities.
But though these superheroes have attracted thousands of adoring fans, city cops don’t count themselves among them.
“Just because he’s dressed up in costume, it doesn’t mean he’s in special consideration or above the law,” Seattle police spokesman Detective Mark Jamieson said of Jones.
Other police say vigilantes like Jones risk hurting themselves and others.


Mark Wayne Williams, a.k.a. Michigan’s “Batman.” (Image via YouTube)

When Michigan resident Mark Wayne Williams was caught in May hanging from a building wearing a Batman outfit, police promptly arrested him for trespassing and possession of dangerous weapons, according to Michigan’s Petoskey News-Review.
As part of his probation, Williams, a member of the so-called “Michigan Protectors,” is not allowed to wear any more costumes. That includes his baton, chemical spray, and weighted gloves.
And yet the movement keeps growing. Last year’s hit movie “Kick-Ass,” which follows a kid without special powers who decides to be a superhero, and the recent HBO documentary called “Superheroes,” may have given the movement a push.
The drama that accompanies real-life superheroes has likely also helped the cause. When summoned to court last week, Jones whipped off his normal clothing to reveal a flashy gold and black costume beneath. He also gave an impassioned speech outside the court, designed to appeal to any citizen with a sense of justice:

I will continue to patrol with my team, probably tonight. … In addition to being Phoenix Jones, I am also Ben Fodor, father and brother. I am just like everybody else. The only difference is that I try to stop crime in my neighborhood and everywhere else.

As the movement has grown, it has also sought to become more organized, with some members proposing a uniform set of standards, others publishing tutorials on how people can join, and a few even considering a sanctioning body to oversee it.
There are now many sub-movements within the movement, such as the Rain City Superhero Movement in Seattle, of which Phoenix Jones is the leader.
“The movement has grown majorly,” Edward Stinson, a Florida-based writer who advises real-life superheroes, told MSNBC. “What I tell these guys is, ‘You’re no longer in the shadows. You’re in a new era. … Build trust. Set standards. Make the real-life superheroes work to earn that title and take some kind of oath.’ ”

Recap of Phoenix Jones’ return to the Belltown streets after his arrest

Originally posted: http://blog.seattlepi.com/insidebelltown/2011/10/17/recap-of-phoenix-jones-return-to-the-belltown-streets-after-his-arrest/
As I mentioned in my “5 things to do in Belltown and Downtown Seattle” post last week, Phoenix Jones and the other Rain City Superheroes were going to walk around Belltown and Downtown Seattle at 10pm on Saturday night.
He hinted the walk outside of the courtroom last Thursday morning and confirmed the walk with me Friday morning moments before I posted the 5 things to do list.  I usually visit one of events I mention for my weekend posts, I decided to attend this event and support Phoenix and his return to the streets — after all, he’s supported everything I’ve ever approached him about including the Safety Meeting honoring Matt Hale.
As promised, he showed up at 1st and Pike at 10:01pm according to my watch.
Also with him were Purple Reign, Mist, No Name, Pitch Black, Aquarius Knight, Belltown Citizens on Patrol, and approximately 40 people who wanted to walk around Belltown and Downtown Seattle.
Phoenix Jones thanked the people for coming and reminded everyone to call 9-1-1 and not put them self in danger should they see a crime taking place.
We walked east on Pike St and while walking he informs me he wants to see the Occupy Seattle protest site at Westlake Park.  We arrive at the protest site and hundreds of people are repeating their chants, Phoenix Jones goes right in to the middle of the crowd with KOMO TV by his side.  He stands there, listens to the chants for a couple minutes while people yell at him to sit down, he wished all the protesters good luck with their protest and leaves the scene.
The walk then head west on Pike St and then north on 2nd Ave towards Belltown.  Along the way, Phoenix was advising the walkers of areas in Belltown to avoid at night; most of the places he advised were parking lots.
During this stretch down 2nd Ave, we share a laugh after he informed me that the Kid ‘n Play comments he gets now are endless; in reference to his hair being similar to “Kid’s” hair.
He also announces that Belltown Citizens on Patrol is the city’s best neighborhood walk program and advises everybody to join them.
While walking down 2nd Ave, I mention a bullet hole in a parking sign from the deadly shooting in June 2010.  He asks to see it, and after showing it to him, he asks me to tell the story of what happened that night to the walkers.
We continued to walk down 2nd Ave and then head west on Bell St, and then south on 1st Ave to head back to 1st and Pike.
During the entire walk, we were surrounded with cameras, picture requests, and people welcoming Phoenix Jones back to the streets. He was applauded by nearly everybody who passed him and returned countless waves from restaurant windows and passersby.
Once we got back to 1st and Pike, Phoenix Jones invited people to ask him questions and introduced all of his other superhero friends by name.
A person asked him how his life has changed since his arrest and how he’s protected his identity since being revealed.  He informed the crowd of a change of address, a change of schools, a change of car, and possibly a change of haircut.
Another person informed him that she’s a single woman in Beltown and asked him what he recommends for her to remain safe while walking the streets in Belltown.  He advised her to walk in groups of at least two, and to avoid walking during the late night, early morning hours alone.
Another person asked how a person could become a superhero and join him.  Phoenix Jones mentioned that there are things he requires to join him and his crew, including a special skillset that can be used during a dangerous time, and also a bullet-proof vest.
He then took pictures with all who wanted pictures and the night ended around 11:30pm.
He still plans on joining the Belltown Citizens on Patrol walks, if you want to see what he’s all about, meet him there — you won’t be disappointed.
Phoenix Jones and the other superheroes will continue to walk the streets in the late hours and risk their lives to keep our streets safe.
Welcome back Phoenix Jones.

Arrest marks growing pains for superhero movement

Originally posted: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5ix-PXiZOo4Z-N_Jx8NWWWs0zkwvQ?docId=a51a823c485c4474a79aa1c01b22ae96
By Gene Johnson, Associated Press
SEATTLE (AP) — Fabio Heuring was standing outside a Seattle nightclub on a Saturday night and smoking cigarettes with a friend when a man bolting from a bouncer ran into them. The enraged man ripped off his shirt in the middle of the street and prepared to give Heuring’s buddy a beating.
Just then, in swooped a bizarre sight: a self-proclaimed superhero in a black mask and matching muscle-suit. He doused the aggressor with pepper spray, much to Heuring’s shocked relief.
A couple hours later, though, the superhero ended up in jail for investigation of assault after using those tactics on another group of clubgoers, sending pangs of anxiety through the small, eccentric and mostly anonymous community of masked crime-fighters across the U.S.
The comic book-inspired patrolling of city streets by “real life super-heroes” has been getting more popular in recent years, thanks largely to mainstream attention in movies like last year’s “Kick-Ass” and the recent HBO documentary “Superheroes.” And as the ranks of the masked, caped and sometimes bullet-proof-vested avengers swell, many fret that even well-intentioned vigilantes risk hurting themselves, the public and the movement if they’re as aggressive as the crime-fighter in Seattle.
Some have gone so far as to propose a sanctioning body to ensure that high super-hero standards are maintained.
“The movement has grown majorly,” said Edward Stinson, a writer from Boca Raton, Fla., who advises real-life superheroes on a website devoted to the cause. “What I tell these guys is, ‘You’re no longer in the shadows. You’re in a new era. … Build trust. Set standards. Make the real-life superheroes work to earn that title and take some kind of oath.'”
It’s not clear how many costumed vigilantes there are in the U.S. The website www.reallifesuperheroes.org lists 660 members around the world. They range from members of the New York Initiative in New York City and the Shadow Corp in Saginaw, Mich., to a character named Nightbow who says he has patrolled the streets of Carlisle, England, for three years.
Some take on their fictional identities while doing charity work.
Benjamin Fodor, better known as Phoenix Jones, is the most prominent face of the Rain City Superhero Movement, a collection of vigilantes who appeared in Seattle over the past year. Early on Oct. 9, about two hours after he saved Heuring and his buddy, the 23-year-old man charged a group of people leaving a downtown nightclub as a videographer trailed him.
From the shaky camera work, it appeared there may have been some kind of disturbance in the group. Fodor insists he was breaking up a fight when he hit the crowd with pepper spray; the people who got sprayed told police there had been no fight. He was briefly booked into jail for investigation of assault, but prosecutors haven’t charged him yet. He appeared in court last week while wearing his superhero costume under a button-down shirt.
“Recently there have been increased reports of citizens being pepper sprayed by (Fodor) and his group,” the police report noted. “Although (Fodor) has been advised to observe and report incidents to 911, he continues to try to resolve things on his own.”
Fodor remained unapologetic after the court appearance, saying he’s just like anyone else except that “I decided to make a difference and stop crime in my neighborhood.” He invited members of the public to join him on patrol Saturday night.
Heuring, a 27-year-old shuttle driver from Auburn, is a fan.
“Without a question, there was a fight going to happen,” he said. “It could have ended ugly had he not come in. He used good judgment in our case. He saw who was instigating it and who he needed to defend.”
But many in the vigilante community point to Fodor’s arrest as a watershed moment: As more people — often, young people — fashion themselves into superheroes, they risk finding themselves in similar situations where they wind up hurting innocent members of the public or being shot, stabbed or beaten themselves. Such negative attention could doom the movement, they say.
Stinson, who is 40 and says he has a military background, said that if the movement is to continue to grow, it needs to do a better job policing itself. He envisions a nonprofit organization that would have departments devoted to fundraising and building community trust and alliances. He also thinks there should be tactical superhero training — including how to take control of a volatile situation and defuse it.
Filmmaker Michael Barnett followed 50 real-life crime fighters for 15 months for his documentary “Superheroes.” Many have great intentions, he said, but that doesn’t mean their methods are proper.
“The police by in large appreciate an extra set of eyes, but they really, really want these guys to do it according to the law,” Barnett said.
Masked crusaders began appearing in the 1970s with San Diego’s Captain Sticky, who used his Superman-like costume to fight against rental car rip-offs and for tenant rights, Barnett said. They spread throughout the country in the 1980s and 1990s, and became more popular thanks to the faster communications and online support communities of the Internet.
Barnett said he met plumbers, teachers, cashiers and firefighters who leave their day jobs behind every night in the name of security. Their weapons include pepper spray, stun guns and batons. Relatively few have any combat training or any formal knowledge of how to use their arsenal, he said.
That concerns the professional crime-fighters.
“If people want to dress up and walk around, knock yourself out,” said Seattle police spokesman Mark Jamieson. “Our concern is when you insert yourself into these situations without knowing the facts, it’s just not a smart thing to do. If you think a situation warrants calling 911, call 911.”
Not all of the vigilantes take a confrontational approach. A 53-year-old man in Mountain View, Calif., who calls himself “The Eye,” keeps a low-enough profile that officers there have never booked anyone arrested with his help.
“The only reason I know him is because he’s my neighbor,” said police spokeswoman Liz Wylie. “He’s a neighborhood watch block captain, a very good one at that.”

Phoenix Jones back on patrol after his dramatic unveiling

Originally posted: http://www.komonews.com/news/local/131945518.html
By Lindsay Cohen
SEATTLE – An extra set of eyes is watching the streets of downtown Seattle, as self-styled superhero Phoenix Jones returned to his patrol after enduring a week filled with controversy.
ones, whose real name is Benjamin Fodor, was back walking the streets of Seattle on Saturday night. He patrolled with other members of the Rain City Super Heroes, as well as regular citizens he invited to tag along.
The group left from Pike Place Market around 10 p.m. and made a stop at Occupy Seattle before heading to Belltown.
Fodor says he wants to clear up confusion about his role and continue his mission.
“Theres been a lot of confusion about people thinking, like, I’m delusional or I’m crazy or that I don’t understand what I’m doing,” he says. “And I wanted people to walk around and understand what it is I’m doing.”
He says last week started off as one of his worst ever, but then quickly became liberating.
He was arrested early on the morning of Oct. 9, after an alleged fight that was caught on video by a friend.
On the videotape, Fodor runs up to a crowd while dressed in his superhero outfit, pulls out a can of pepper spray and appears to shoot it at several people.
He was arrested on suspicion of assault, but prosecutors earlier this week declined to file charges.
Outside court on Thursday, he dramatically took off his mask and revealed his true identity – and said he plans to keep fighting crime on the streets of Seattle, as he did Saturday night.
In fact, it’s something that everyone can do, in his or her own way, he says.
“Everyone’s doing it – they just don’t know,” says Fodor. “If you walk from your car to a show and back to your car, that’s being on patrol. The only difference is, when I see crime, I call 911 first, wait, and when it gets dangerous I step in. And I feel like every citizen could do that.”
Fodor adds that he’s in a backup suit, because what he calls his “super suit” was taken into evidence by police, after last week’s arrest.

Phoenix Jones Says He’s Training a Replacement Hero, Nightstick.

Originally posted: http://publicola.com/2011/10/14/phoenix-jones-says-hes-training-a-replacement-hero-nightstick/
By Jonah Spangenthal-Lee

After dramatically revealing his secret identity to a crowd of reporters following his court hearing at the county jail Thursday morning, Phoenix Jones—legal name: Ben Fodor—tells PubliCola he plans to continue patrolling Seattle’s streets, but also says he’s “training a replacement.”
Fodor says his replacement, known as Nightstick, is the strong silent type.
Fodor says Nightstick—a friend of Fodor’s from the mixed martial arts fighting world—is more interested in going out and thwomping bad guys than calling 911 and waiting for police. Fodor says Nightstick is already meting out street justice in Seattle, breaking up “six or seven crimes,” and recently left a drug dealer handcuffed to a light pole.
Fodor says ultimately he’s hoping Nightstick becomes “a guy that can function the way [he] did before [he] was outed before the Seattle Police Department.” (Though Fodor, aka Phoenix Jones, says he won’t slowing down his own crime fighting.)
Fodor would not provide any details about Nightstick’s true identity, but said he his a “mixed martial artist” who wears “head-to-toe covered gear” and “doesn’t do interviews.”

Superhero' Phoenix Jones: 'I'll keep Seattle safe'

Originally posted: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-15301830
A self-styled superhero known as Phoenix Jones has been unmasked in a Seattle court as he waits to see if he is charged with a pepper spray attack.
Police say Phoenix Jones – real name Benjamin Fodor – attacked four people who had left a Seattle nightclub.
As the court hearing ended, he tore off a dress shirt to reveal his black and yellow superhero costume.
Prosecutors said they had not yet decided whether to file charges, but Mr Fodor vowed to continue crimefighting.
The 23-year-old, who leads the Rain City Superhero Movement, said he was trying to break up a fight. The clubgoers insisted to police they were not fighting.
“I will continue to patrol with my team, probably tonight,” he told the Seattle Times on Thursday. “I am just like everybody else. The only difference is that I try to stop crime in my neighbourhood.”
During the hearing, a court officer asked Jones to remove his mask. He did so, but then put it back on to speak to reporters.
Seattle Police are not likely to be calling on Mr Jones to help them keep Seattle safe.
“If people want to dress up and walk around, knock yourself out,” said police spokesman Mark Jamieson. “Our concern is when you insert yourself into these situations without knowing the facts, it’s just not a smart thing to do.”
According to the Associated Press news agency, a police report says there have been increased reports of citizens being pepper-sprayed by the would-be superhero and his group.
Although Phoenix Jones “has been advised to observe and report incidents to [police], he continues to try to resolve things on his own,” the report says.

Decision in Phoenix Jones 'superhero' case expected by Thursday

Originally posted: http://www.seattlepi.com/local/article/HOLD-UNTIL-CONFIRMED-Superhero-Phoenix-Jones-2213166.php
In the streets of Belltown, he is Phoenix Jones Guardian of Seattle.
But this self-proclaimed superhero, who may be charged this week for a pepper-spray incident over the weekend, goes by another name: Benjamin Fodor. Or, if you’re a fan of mixed-martial arts fighting, you know him as “Flatttop.”
Fodor, who patrols downtown in a costume and with sidekicks, was arrested early Sunday for investigation of assault, and the City Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case.
Police say Fodor, 23, used pepper spray on a group of men and women early Sunday near the Alaskan Way Viaduct. Video of the incident shows two women chasing after Fodor and a man with face paint, hitting them and telling the self-proclaimed superheroes to leave.
In his other life, Fodor competes in the local world of mixed-martial arts fighting and has won a local championship. According to mixedmartialarts.com, Fodor’s won his first official amateur fight in December 2006 and had his last win in July 2010. His record is 11-0, and his last fight ended in a two-round TKO.
A Seattle Twitter account, @FlattopFodor, describes him as the current two-time Ax Lightweight Champion and current welterweight champion in Washington. The last tweet from the account was Aug. 5, 2010.
As Phoenix Jones, Fodor “has a history of injecting himself in these incidents,” Officer Hosea Crumpton wrote in the Sunday incident report. “Recently there have been reports of citizens being pepper-sprayed by (him) and his group. Although (the man) has been advised to observe and report incidents to 911, he continues to try and resolve things on his own.
“There was a report earlier in the night in which several nightclub patrons had been reportedly been pepper-sprayed by (him) during some type of disturbance. Those people left the area before they could be contacted by police. Officers arriving on that call noted the odor of pepper spray was still in the air.”
Last November, Seattle police officers were alerted to Fodor as Phoenix Jones and other self-described superheroes after similar police were confused by their presence at crime scenes.
Officers had learned the identity of Jones before the bulletin was distributed. The “superheroes’ ” story – often compared to the movie “Kick Ass” – exploded in popularity after seattlepi.com first reported on an internal police bulletin, which said the characters drove a Kia registered to one superhero’s godmother.
Seattlepi.com did not initially name Fodor because he wasn’t the subject of a criminal investigation.
His story went viral last fall with publications across the globe weighing in.
Fodor as Phoenix Jones and others drew crowds for their patrols in Belltown earlier this year. At a Belltown community meeting late this summer, they distributed free canisters of pepper spray for self defense.
But patrol officers have long said these superheroes are putting themselves in danger by confronting people.
Seattle firefighters were called to treat those affected by pepper spray Sunday morning. Fodor, who calls himself Phoenix Jones in interviews, has said he is the victim.
A spokesman for Phoenix Jones, Peter Tangen, said it appears the officer who arrested Jones had an agenda, and that when Jones said he was assaulted the officer laughed at him. He also said police have refused to take statements two people who were following Jones.
“I think the biggest story here is that the SPD didn’t really follow protocol in any way, shape or form,” he told KOMO/4. Speaking as Jones, he told the station that police did not take statements from companions who were on the scene.
However, the incident report shows police spoke to two people who were with Fodor at the scene. Both said they were there to document his activities. At least one cameraman typically follows Fodor, who wore a black-and-gold-colored suit.
Police have since confiscated his costume.
“That video began in the area of 1 Av/Columbia St looking to the west,” the report from Officer Hosea Crumpton states. “On the video a group of people could be seen on Columbia St looking to the west. The group was gathered, but there did not appear to be a fight. A/Fodor could be seen running into the group and engaging the subjects. A/Fodor could be seen pepper spraying several individuals in the group. People in the group then turned on A/Fodor and chased him away.”
The cameraman who took that video, Ryan McNamee, initially told seattlepi.com in an e-mail that “police have not contacted me for a statement and has not shown any interest in my footage or what the other journalist and I saw.”
Asked about the police report in which police describe the video, McNamee said that “police glanced at my camera for a couple of seconds but didn’t examine the footage or ask to see it in any detail.”
However, the police report describes about a minute of the video based on the time-stamp on the footage, which McNamee posted online.
In previous interviews with seattlepi.com, the man known as Phoenix Jones has said that is his name and not discussed his background other than saying the people in his group have military training or a martial arts background.
The spokesman for Jones, Peter Tangen, did not discuss Phoenix Jones’ legal name and said the man has “absolutely has no comment” on his name.
“There’s nothing delusional” Tangen said when asked of Fodor. “He’s just a civic activist trying to make the streets a safer place.”
Tangen said the man known as Phoenix Jones has to be vigilant about his safety and the safety of his family, including a young child. But he was not aware with specific threats against him.
The spokesman said Phoenix Jones was unlikely to talk to news outlets that published his name. Tangen said the he didn’t know if Fodor had applied to be a police officer, but said he did not have a military background.
Fodor, speaking as Jones, told KOMO/4 there’s video evidence of his being assaulted, but an officer didn’t want to see the evidence.
“Pepper spray is a defensive weapon, and if you watch the video, I’m being attacked,” he said. “And I only deploy the pepper spray when I’m being attacked.
“At no point did I hit anyone. At no point do I pepper-spray anyone who’s not attacking me. I’m very confident in the video.”
Police say they’re confident in their report. They also say people should not interject themselves into scenes that should be handled by professionals.
When the man known as Phoenix Jones spoke to seattlepi.com for the Nov. 2010 story that started the media whirlwind, he said he didn’t condone people walking around on the street with masks.
“Everyone on my team either has a military background or a mixed martial arts background,” he said, “and we’re well aware of what its costs to do what we do.”

New York City ‘Superheroes’ React To Arrest Of Crime Fighter ‘Phoenix Jones’

Originally posted: http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/10/11/new-york-city-superheroes-react-to-arrest-of-crime-fighter-phoenix-jones/
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – New York’s burgeoning amateur “superhero” community take notice: Don’t try breaking up a fight in Seattle.
The Big Apple is home to countless comic book superheros – and a few self-styled “real” ones.
The New York Initiative is a group of folks who wear costumes and say their goals are patrolling for criminals, public security, humanitarian outreach and more.
Their mission statement, found on their Facebook page, says “We are individuals organized towards achieving peacekeeping objectives and humanitarian missions. This will translate into a variety of non-monetary services as unfolding events demand. Our primary goal will always be to help those in the most need to the highest ethical standard and to the maximum effect.”
News of the arrest of one of their costumed colleagues in Seattle – a man who guys by the name Phoenix Jones – has their Facebook page humming.
The arrest came after a confrontation that was caught on video and is embedded below.
Phoenix Jones Stops Assault from Ryan McNamee on Vimeo.
Jones, whose real name is Benjamin Fodor, allegedly used pepper spray on four people. They say they were dancing in the streets; Jones says they were fighting and tried to break it up.
His actions have prompted a response within New York’s superhero community.
“I believe he acted inappropriately in this instance,” Chris Pollak, aka Dark Guardian, told CBSNewYork.  The Dark Guardian was featured in a documentary on real life superheroes, and he was seen rousting alleged drug dealers in Washington Square Park.
“He rushed into a situation and reacted with very poor judgement. He maced a group of people who were not attacking him. He was not acting in self defense and the police have rightfully charged him with assault,” Pollak said.
He added that he hopes Phoenix Jones’ actions don’t reflect on the superhero movement.
“This is an example of what not to do as a community crime-fighter. It should be a priority to deescalate situations and work hand in hand with the police to garner the smartest and safest outcome. I stand with the police and want everyone to know he is not a true reflection on what others like myself do in our communities to help,” Pollak said.
Reaction on the Intiative’s Facebook page was also intense.
“That’s what happens when you react the way he did,” self-styled hero Short Cut wrote. “Despite popular belief, you do not fight fire with fire. You are supposed to cool things down.”
“I’m pretty sure he just screwed it up for everyone,” wrote Jack Cero, another self-styled hero. “They now have precedent if his conviction goes through, and what’s more is that his charges will be double due to his body armor and mask.”
However, fan response on Jones’ Facebook page has been pretty massive, with scores of folks leaving messages of support.

Milwaukee gets involved in Seattle’s “real life superhero” controversy

Originally posted: origin.avclub.com/milwaukee/articles/milwaukee-gets-involved-in-seattles-real-life-supe,63183/

By Matt Wild
Say what you will about so-called “real life superheroes”—that they’re faintly ridiculous; that they’re nothing more than deluded goofballs in lousy Halloween Express costumes—but they sure know how to get some press. They do that even when it’s not quite the press they hope to get.
Take Seattle’s RLSH, “Phoenix Jones.” Early Sunday morning, Jones was arrested after allegedly attacking several people with pepper spray. Jones claims he was only trying to break up a street brawl, and that he used the spray only after being attacked himself. Accompanying Jones on his ill-fated “patrol” was Milwaukee’s Tea Krulos, a proponent of the local RLSH movement, and the author of an upcoming book on the subject. Krulos was interviewed by msnbc.com about this incident, and claimed in that interview that Jones was only protecting his fellow citizens:

“Six or seven guys were beating up two other guys,” Krulos said, adding he heard “loud, aggressive noises.” One victim was thrown to the ground and kicked in the ribs. “Two other guys were wrestling with each other but not in a playful way—and people were screaming.”
“Nobody was dancing, it was not ambiguous, there was definitely fighting,” he said.

On his Heroes In The Night blog, Krulos had this to add:

Well, it’s been a crazy weekend in Seattle. The media is blowing up with the story of Phoenix Jones being detained after intervening in a brawl. I was there. I witnessed the whole thing. I even got punched a couple times myself.
I will be giving a full account on the blog tomorrow. For now I want to dispute one thing—the people Phoenix disrupted WERE NOT DANCING/ “FROLICKING,” or “having a good time.”
They were beating the crap out of two people.

UPDATE: Krulos had this to say to The A.V. Club:

I don’t really condone or condemn Phoenix Jones’ tactics. However, the reports circulating about him are completely untrue. The police report was based on the word of the people attacking two people who fled the scene. The media, in turn, began to report this as fact and began reporting that Jones had snuck up on a group of people “dancing.”
Trust me, Tea Krulos knows a dance party when he sees one, and that was not a dance party. As we were approaching the group we saw one guy slam another guy on the ground and begin to kick him and two other guys were grappling each other. Phoenix Jones ran into the group and told the guys to back up. When they didn’t, he sprayed them with a high octane pepper spray. Things got pretty chaotic from there. Someone hit another person with a car, one of the girlfriends of the attackers began to hit Jones with her high heel shoe—I even got punched in the face by a Russian dude while I was calling 911, Ryan also got thrown into a wall. The Russian dudes also got in their escalade and tried to run Jones down at one point.
When the cops showed up, one of them was pretty pissed off and not at all happy to see Mr. Jones. An officer read me, Phoenix and Ryan our Miranda rights, but after he found out me and Ryan were media he told us to get out of there—didn’t take statements. They detained Jones and kept him over night, released him but confiscated his “super suit” as he calls it. He will appear in court later in the week.

A video of the incident can be found here. Dancing/frolicking, or beating/assaulting? And has the RLSH thing finally gone too far?
Phoenix Jones Stops Assault from Ryan McNamee on Vimeo.