Whatever you might think of vigilante superheroes walking the streets of our cities in colorful costumes, there is one certainty: if not for one of these vigilante heroes, a man attacked recently on Capital Hill in Seattle Washington may not have survived to tell the tale.
Last week, one of the nation’s highest profile superheroes, Phoenix Jones, interceded in an attempted murder. According to Seattle ABC affiliate station KIRO, Phoenix was patrolling the streets near Capitol Hill when he witnessed three men attacking one victim, beating him viciously and pistol-whipping him. Even though Phoenix wasn’t wearing his signature Kevlar armor, he immediately sprang into action, chasing the men down and knocking the weapon away from the armed man.
“I sprinted out as fast as I could and hit him with a right hand. The gun popped out, only the scary part was he didn’t get knocked out,” Phoenix said.
At that point, the other two guys went for the gun and Jones knew he was in danger. Not wearing his traditional Kevlar suit, Phoenix fled briefly for safety.
Even the police mentioned Phoenix in the local police blotter, saying that:
“The bloodied victim in the incident wouldn’t provide officers with much information about the fight, but a witness–Seattle’s (in)famous masked adventurer, Phoenix Jones–told police he had seen the suspects pistol-whip and kick the victim after knocking him to the ground.”
That’s when Seattle police officers arrived, which prompted the suspects to disperse into the crowd, trying to blend in.
It didn’t work. Phoenix cornered one of the trio until cops arrived, and the other two were apprehended.
The suspects, all African American, are 21, 29 and 30. During a pat down, Officer Nic Abts-Olsen found a handgun on the 30-year-old suspect. He was apprehended by police attempting to casually walk away from the scene. Anybody looking at this without context might guess that it was profiling, or that the police were using excessive force. The trouble was that he had a gun in his pants and blood on his clothes.
During the arrest of these three suspects, Phoenix was shocked to hear passers-by jeer at the officers, suggesting they were only hassling the men because of their race. This didn’t sit well with him.
“All black people are about to get mad at me but stop with the ‘Black Lives Matter’ crap,” he told a reporter for KIRO Radio. “Stop it. All lives matter.”
Phoenix said witnesses were “standing on the sidewalk, with these cameras, yelling at [the cops], telling me not to get close. There’s a difference between cops abusing their power and cops doing their job. Get your facts right and let the cops do their job. The last thing we need is an impotent police force.”
Without any context, people were making assumptions, but they didn’t know what was actually happening, he said. These men were trying to blend into a crowd. Police were not stereotyping or using excessive force. Bystanders didn’t have all the details.
“Later, they pat him down and find out he’s a felon,” Phoenix said.
Had the police been more aggressive toward the guy, Phoenix would have taken issue with how the situation was handled. But for knowing that the man had a gun, they were gentle, he explained. They even apologized while they cuffed one of the suspects, just in case they had the wrong guy, he continued.
The incident is an example of why Phoenix says he is frustrated with the Black Lives Matter movement. People are taking things out of context and using that against police.
“Crime is just crime,” Phoenix said. “There’s not a color that goes with it.”
It’s noteworthy that the police blotter referred to him by his code name Phoenix Jones and not by his not-so-secret identity of Ben Fodor – this, despite the fact that he was not in uniform at the time of the incident. This may have the unintended consequence of validating him as a superhero in the media, now that he’s been officially acknowledged by law enforcement as one. Regardless, in or out of uniform, Phoenix Jones is a hero. If not for his intervention, a man might have died.
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KIRO is the local CBS affiliate. KOMO is the Seattle ABC affiliate.