Real life 'superheroes' guard Seattle streets from crime

Originally posted:

by Linda Brill / KING 5 News
Posted on November 19, 2010 at 6:30 PM
Updated Friday, Nov 19 at 6:30 PM

SEATTLE — They are a group of costumed and caped do-gooders out to fight crime, and now they’re on the streets of Seattle.
A handful of men and women say they’re part of a national group of “Real Life Superheroes” and locally they call themselves the Rain City Movement.
Their website says they embody the values presented in super heroic comic books. Now they’ve organized here and are patrolling Seattle streets at night.
But, police say these superheroes could cause harm. They carry Tasers, nightsticks and pepper spray, but they don’t carry guns.
At a Capitol Hill gas station last week, a bystander mistook a masked superhero for a masked robber. Police warn someone could get hurt.
“If you want to dress up as a superhero that’s great. Go to the conventions.” said Mark Jamieson, spokesman for the Seattle Police Department.

Phoenix Jones: Real Life Superhero

Originally posted:

By Jenny Kuglin, Director of Social Media
Friday, November 19th, 12:31pm

Phoenix Jones is a superhero.
He has a day job but wears a costume underneath his street clothes in case he encounters crime. He carries a “net gun” and has a sidekick named Buster Doe.
But this isn’t the plot from a Hollywood movie. There are no special effects. This is real-life and Phoenix patrols Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood every week- stopping fights, feeding the homeless and helping folks who have run out of gas.
Unlike most movie superheroes, Phoenix doesn’t have any super powers and he doesn’t need them. He is made of flesh and blood and has gotten hurt. He deals with real criminals and puts his life in danger nightly.
“Phoenix, some people might ask if you’re crazy. Are you crazy?” I asked during a recent phone interview.
“Have you ever seen something that you thought was wrong or not fair? That you wanted to change? And then you just thought about it for days or weeks?” He said.
“Of course.” I answered.
“Well I haven’t. I don’t stand by and watch things happen that are wrong. When I see it I fix it. Does that make me crazy?”
Phoenix is a part of the Rain City Superhero movement, a group of superheroes that patrols the streets of Seattle.
The group includes Phoenix Jones, Buster Doe, Thorn, Green Reaper, Gemini, No Name, Catastrophe, Thunder 88 and Penelope.
They are part of national organization, Real Life Superheroes. The website states,

“Superheroes have historically been an instrument in relaying pro social values. Not surprisingly, the same values that make a hero today are the same in the late 1930s when the first comic book superheroes were being invented: trustworthiness, bravery, selflessness, and passion. These hallmarks of fictional iconic characters are the same that the Real Life Superheroes strive to embody.”

So is vigilante justice acceptable? Are the superheroes actually helping police fight crime?
Phoenix says police were extremely wary at first, but now accept his help. He calls them ahead of time to tell them which neighborhood he’ll be patrolling. He fills out police reports and gives witness testimony.
“Police have been super helpful. I’ll walk down the streets and they’ll get their loudspeaker out and say, ‘Hey, Phoenix! How are you doing?’ They’ll come over and shake my hand. They know that I’m for real.”
A police bulletin was sent to Seattle officers on Wednesday about the group.
Seattle police say there is nothing illegal about dressing up as a superhero, but it is dangerous.
They would rather the self-proclaimed superheroes acted as witnesses instead of inserting themselves into fights.
Phoenix Jones says he wanted to become a superhero after a few incidents changed his mind about Seattle.
The first involved a friend getting assaulted outside a bar. The friend was left with permanent facial damage.
“And I thought, why didn’t someone help him? There were seventy people outside that bar and no one did anything,” he said.
The second incident was when someone broke into his car and his son was injured by the broken glass. His son had to spend the night in the ER and get stitches. He was later told that several people saw the break-in happen, but didn’t do anything.
Phoenix said, “Teenagers are running down the street, breaking into cars, and no one does anything? Where’s the personal accountability?”
Phoenix decided he would be different than all of those people who just stood by, not helping.
He began stepping into fights and helping people in need. But soon, he was getting recognized across town as ‘the guy who stops fights.’ He realized he was putting himself in danger.
“They’d recognize me and pick me out. I couldn’t do regular, every-day things anymore. So I started wearing the mask,” he said.
Phoenix says his costume helps him fight crime.
He said, “Most of the time when people see me, they kind-of laugh. The reaction I get is exactly what I wanted when I made the suit. I made it kind-of comical. Because if I can stop a fight by simply showing up in a cape and saying ‘Hey, Stop!’ like a comic-book character, and they actually stop, then the problem is solved. And no one got hurt.”
But not everyone laughs. Phoenix has been injured, but wouldn’t give details.
“I can’t really give specifics of my injuries because there are hospital records and it might be obvious who I am. I can say I’ve been cut several different times. And there was an incident in Tacoma with a gun. I’m not going to say how far it went, but it was bad. Remember, I deal with real criminals.”
It takes a lot of tools to be a good superhero, and Phoenix has a lot of them.
He carries a taser nightstick, a net gun and a grappling hook. (Though he says the net gun and grappling hook are not very effective. The grappling hook was unable to support his body.) But he does not carry a gun or knife.
He drives a regular car, but has a sophisticated communication system. A computer inside his car prints any emails sent to his superhero email address: [email protected].
“Last night a guy emailed me saying he felt unsafe walking to his car. I was able to help him immediately. You know, if he called the police they wouldn’t be able to help him. But I am.”
Phoenix agreed to let KOMO News go out with him for a night of crime-fighting, but not before he got a bulletproof suit.
“After media attention, I might get shot at. I want to feel safe.”
We agreed to wait until he got the bulletproof suit and the story will air on KOMO-TV soon.
Phoenix Jones wants more superheroes to join the Rain City Superhero movement. But they must be qualified. And realistic.
Phoenix said, “I think people would find it’s far less romantic than it sounds. The hours aren’t so great. There’s no pay. That’s the reality.”
There were no phone booths involved in my first communication with Phoenix Jones. Phoenix is a modern day superhero, so instead he uses Facebook.
His post on the KOMO News wall read:
We get a lot of tips that don’t pan out, and I thought this was probably one of them. But his profile picture showed a man with a mask, cape and tights standing next to a Seattle police officer.
I was intrigued.
I looked at his Facebook page where all of his posts where about fighting crime. There were a lot of dark and fuzzy pictures of him in various poses around the city donning that same mask, cape and tights.
So I sent him an email saying I’d be interested to find out more about his superhero abilities. We traded emails back and forth and I learned that he was very serious about his job, that he’d been injured and gotten involved in stopping knife fights.
I wanted to talk to him by phone, but he wouldn’t give me his phone number.
“You’re a journalist. You’d find a way to trace me,” he said.
So we agreed to talk on a secret phone line where I had to punch in a secret code. After talking to him I realized this was a real story about a real guy doing really strange and amazing things.

Police alerted to 'superheroes' patrolling Seattle

Originally Posted:

Vigilante justice has come to Seattle, and the caped crusaders drive a Kia.
Seattle police say a group of self-described superheroes have been patrolling the streets at night trying to save people from crime. They call themselves the Rain City Superhero Movement and say they’re part of a nationwide movement of real-life crime fighters.
The national website — cited in a police bulletin sent to Seattle officers Wednesday — states “a Real Life Superhero is whoever chooses to embody the values presented in super heroic comic books, not only by donning a mask/costume, but also performing good deeds for the communitarian place whom he inhabits.”
Police say the “costume-wearing complainants” are lucky they haven’t been hurt.
In one instance, police say a caped crusader dressed in black was nearly shot when he came running out of a dark park. In another case, a witness on Capitol Hill saw the crusaders wearing ski masks in a car parked at a Shell station and thought they were going to rob the place.
Police got the license plate and found those masked characters drove a Kia Fate registered to one of the character’s godmothers, department staff said. She told police her godson goes around doing good deeds.
Costume includes ballistic cup
Investigators identified nine people dressed in costume going around Seattle after dark. A police source said the characters go by Thorn, Buster Doe, Green Reaper, Gemini, No Name, Catastrophe, Thunder 88, Penelope and Phoenix Jones the Guardian of Seattle.
But don’t listen to Captain Ozone or Knight Owl, police were told. They’re apparently not part of the group.
Officers have learned the true identity of Phoenix — a 22-year-old man whose costume includes a black cape, black fedora, blue tights, white belt and mask. Police say he’s often driven by a young woman not in costume.
Officers say she usually doesn’t get out of the car, instead letting the “superhero” do his thing.
Phoenix was interviewed by detectives this month and came to police headquarters dressed in most of his costume, police said.
“(Phoenix) apologized for not being in full costume, as it was being repaired after (he) was stabbed while trying to intervene with a drug dealer and a citizen,” the police bulletin stated, according to a police source.
The man was not seriously wounded during the incident under Interstate 5, and police say he may not have actually been wounded.
Now, police were told Phoenix wears body armor, a ballistic vest, arm and leg trauma plates — and a ballistic cup. Police were apparently told that bulletproof vest helped stop a bullet during an incident in Tacoma a year ago.
Others are expected to be at police headquarters this week for identification.
“I don’t condone people walking around on the street with masks,” said the man who called himself Phoenix Jones. “Everyone on my team either has a military background or a mixed martial arts background, and we’re well aware of what its costs to do what we do.”
Jones said he would talk in greater detail after a television news story was broadcast this weekend by our news partner, KOMO/4.
Keeping in superhero fashion, he didn’t leave a return number.
Police say another incident with the self-proclaimed superheroes came about 3 a.m. November 4 at Sixth Avenue and South King Street in the International District.
Police responded to a harassment complaint and found Phoenix the Guardian of Seattle dressed in a “black colored Batman costume and a black ski mask,” department spokesman Jeff Kappel said.
He was standing with four other men and one woman, all in costume with their faces covered by ski masks and bandanas. They were dealing a man making threatening statements and swinging a golf club.
Police took the golf club as evidence. The “costume-wearing complainants” refused to press charges because they didn’t want to identify themselves to officers, Kappel said. So the suspect walked.

Dangers of vigilante justice

“There’s nothing wrong with citizens getting involved with the criminal justice process — as long as they follow it all the way through,” Kappel said, adding they want people to call 911 and be good witnesses, even if a case goes to court.
Police say they don’t want people who aren’t sworn officers putting themselves in danger.
They point to an unrelated case earlier this year in Maple Leaf. A man in his late 40s was working on his rental property near Northeast 77th Street and 16th Avenue Northeast when he saw men prowling his vehicle.
The man fought the prowlers and was winning, but one was able to inflict two knife wounds 3-inches deep. Large amounts of blood covered his clothes when medics arrived, and police say the man nearly died.
In another Northgate case from 2008, a man shot a car prowler who was trying to steal his stereo. The prowler died and the suspect was charged with manslaughter. He’s out now, but was sentenced to nine months in prison.
A member of the Rain City Superhero Movement told police they carry Tasers, nightsticks, pepper spray, but no firearms.
Police say they hope the self-proclaimed superheroes are realistic and act as good witnesses instead of putting themselves in danger. The bulletin said a KOMO/4 news crew plans to follow the caped crusaders Friday night.
According to the national superhero website, the characters don’t have to engage in violent fights to be a crime fighter, but should embody the values presented in super heroic comic books.
“Inspiration plays a major role in this, of course,” character Entomo wrote on the page. “You can inspire people to believe in a symbol.
“You can inspire people to believe they can CREATE themselves a symbol and embody it — and it’s not a lie.”

Casey McNerthney can be reached at 206-448-8220 or [email protected]. Follow Casey on Twitter at

The Watchman – Milwaukee’s Real Life Superhero

By Spooky on October 8th, 2010
Armed with a flashlight, a can of pepper spray and a cell phone, the Watchman patrols the streets of Riverwest, hunting for criminals and evil doers. But he’s got a job, so he only plays superhero on weekends.
Although he doesn’t have any real superpowers (or even weapons), The Watchman likes to refer to himself as a real life superhero. Instead of gadgets and weapons, he opted for a simple Motorola phone, which he uses to report the crimes he happens to witness while patrolling. Contacting the police or calling an ambulance is sometimes more important than intervening in person, so he prefers to let authorities handle emergencies.
The 6-foot, 200-pound superhero wears a red mask over half his face, to conceal his identity, so that his family doesn’t have to suffer from his crime-fighting activities. He has always felt that anyone can do something to make our world better, and after contemplating about becoming a police officer, he decided to become the Watchman. While he understands some people may think his superhero outfit is somewhat funny, he’s out there to show people everyone can do their part.
But the Watchman is not the only superhero patrolling the streets at night. He actually belongs to the Great Lakes Heroes Guild, a group of real life superheroes who exchange resources and information in order to make the world a better place.
Most of the Riverwest locals who know about the Watchman think it’s actually pretty cool that they have their own superhero who actually cares about their safety and well-being, but he does get into trouble every once in a while. For example, he once saw four boys leaving an underaged party with a 15-year-old drunk girl. It seemed like they were going to take advantage of her, so he stepped in, but then her big brother came out, who seeing his masked face, thought he was the bad guy and pulled out a knife. All the Watchman could do was jump in his car and get the hell out of there. Not very superhero-like, but even a scared superhero is better than no superhero, right? Wait, that doesn’t sound right…

Past the Mask- Update

20/20 will be premiering a two minute segement on Past the Mask: The Real Life Superhero Project on June 1st 2010. Originally the segement was scheduled for 8 minutes. However, to compensate for the cut in air time, 20/20 will be posting more contenting on their website at This content will be made availible May 31st/
Peter Tangen will be relaunching June 1st with brand new content, interviews and articles not only about RLSH but of Real Life Heroes worldwide as well.

Staying Motivated As A RLSH

Staying Motivated As A RLSH
By: Nadra Enzi aka Capt. Black
“You can’t save the world! ” Heard this before? How about thinking it on your own? Concerned citizenship risks emotional wear and tear. Especially our brand. Problems outnumber problem solvers so fatigue often sets in. Especially when feeling alone in your concerns. Most folks hunker down trying to change nothing more than their socks in the morning. World change is out of reach. Crusading isn’t popular like apathy. Apathy is easier and neatly fits  busy schedules.
RLSH retirement levels may match dropout rates in neighborhood watch; citizens patrol and related groups. Life intrudes upon motivation variously: income problems; relationship issues; health challenges, etc. Time outs recharge initiative. Constant performance without rest undermines even peak performers. Beginning this lifestyle is addictive. Constant RLSH activity assures more of the same. Expressing your best self is intoxicating. Without balance, inevitable exhaustion happens. Toss in balancing double lives for those with secret identities and motivation suffers. Burn out is an occupational hazard, especially considering how few try changing conditions.
Motivation for extraordinary lifestyles is highly individualized. One size fits all solutions miss particular personalities. Find out what keeps you and you alone upbeat. List de-motivators to avoid like the plague. Associate with like minded people. Have an active spiritual or ethical practice to stay tuned in to higher consciousness.
Most importantly, recognize you can’t change the world. No matter how many suspects are caught or meals given, crime and hunger continue. Expanding your sphere of influence gradually changes the world around you. As it grows, so does your impact. Being overly ambitious is draining. Or worse, creates bitterness. Better to return to this lifestyle after recharging.  Nervous breakdowns accomplish nothing.
Take time out for yourself; strategically leave the lifestyle to recharge; associate with the like minded; these and other tips keep RLSH and other concerned citizens focused. I learned these tricks as a full time writer/speaker/activist. Even Dr. King took vacations. Corporate C.E.O.s have retreats. We should do no less.
It isn’t quitting. It’s not weakness. Knowing when to cut back is strength. Understanding how to stay motivated helps you to motivate others.
The views and comments of Captain Black do not reflect on the views of the RLSH community.
NADRA ENZI AKA CAPT. BLACK promotes crime prevention and self-development. and