Thursday, October 13, 2011

Ben Fodor: Seattle superhero walks free, vows to continue fighting crime

Self-styled superhero Phoenix Jones unmasked himself before cameras Thursday and vowed to keep fighting crime after prosecutors delayed a decision on whether to press assault charges against him.

Jones -- who told reporters his real name is Ben Fodor -- routinely patrols downtown Seattle streets decked out in a rubber suit and mask. He was arrested early Sunday on four counts of assault after police said he used pepper spray on a group of people leaving a nightclub. A spokesman for Fodor said he was trying to break up a fight.

Video shot by a documentary crew and posted on Phoenix Jones' Facebook page showed a chaotic scene, with the self-styled super hero being chased by a purse-wielding woman and then shooting what appeared to be pepper spray at a group of people. Fodor was the only person arrested in the incident.

Seattle Police said Fodor overreacted, and asserted that the city is not in need of vigilante crime fighters.

"If you see something that warrants calling 911, call 911. You don't need to dress up in a costume to do that," police spokesman Mark Jamieson said.

In court Thursday, Fodor appeared wearing a hood, which a judge's assistant asked him to remove. Told charges had not been filed against him, Fodor put the rubber hood back on and left the court with a swarm of media cameras following him.

Outside the courthouse, Fodor told reporters he would continue his anti-crime patrols and then removed his hood.

"In addition to being Phoenix Jones," he said. "I am also Ben Fodor, a father and brother. I am just like everybody else. The only difference is that I try to stop crime." more