When we last reported about real life superhero Phoenix Jones here at Comic Booked, he had just come out of a court hearing in which prosecutors could not determine if they would file charges against him, stemming from an October incident in which Jones was arrested and released after pepper spray was deployed in an attempt to break up an alleged late night physical altercation. Luckily the entire incident was caught on film by Ryan McNamee, who was accompanying Phoenix on patrol that particular evening. Jones came out of that hearing, removed his cowl, and for the first time, shared his secret identity with reporters and the world at large. He was left with little choice, as his true identity was made public record following the arrest. It was a cliffhanger story twist very much in the style of comic book heroes, but Phoenix is a real human being with a family. He would just have to wait and see if charges would be filed or dropped.
While he waited things went from bad to worse. Due to the media dookie-storm, Phoenix quickly lost his real life day job working with developmentally disabled children. Phoenix Jones was down, but never out. He continued to patrol the city in a backup suit and bulletproof vest (according to Jones his costume has yet to be returned by SPD) and do what he felt in his heart was right. He even made a public appearance at ZomBcon 2011 where I got the chance to chat, get a picture taken with him, and voice my support for him beating the flimsy charges. At the time Phoenix seemed upbeat and assured me that the charges would indeed be dropped.
Fast-forward to last week, when the official announcement to not pursue the charges was finally made by the Seattle City Attorney’s Office, after attempts to identify and interview two men that ran from the scene of the October incident failed to come to fruition. City Attorney Pete Holmes said that it would be unlikely that a jury would find proof beyond a reasonable doubt that [Jones] committed a crime. Holmes couldn’t help but take one final shot at Phoenix in this statement made in a press release:
“[Phoenix Jones] is no hero, just a deeply misguided individual. He has been warned that his actions put himself in danger, and this latest episode demonstrates that innocent bystanders can also be harmed.”
Phoenix quickly shot back with a statement on his Facebook page, which is too long to reprint, but can be viewed in full by clicking here.
So things are looking up again for Phoenix Jones. The charges have been dropped. Jones has even secured another job, reportedly in the same field, but has wisely chosen to remain tight-lipped about the details. Phoenix continues to patrol (he never stopped), and had some exciting events transpire over the holiday weekend. Judging from a statement posted on his Facebook fan page, Phoenix was going to take it easy over the weekend, but changed his mind at 2:10am Sunday morning (yes, he always types in CAPS in a stream of consciousness style):
I TOLD PURPLE [his wife] I WOULD TAKE THE NIGHT [off] AND LET THE RCSM HANDLE PATROL SHE FELL ASLEEP AND I FIND [MYSELF] SUITING UP FOR PATROL I JUST CAN’T LEAD A NORMAL LIFE
Good thing for the city of Seattle that Phoenix did go out and patrol with some of the other Rain City Superheroes (Pitch Black, El Caballero, Midnight Jack, Mantissss, and Ghost Spectre) as well as cameraman Ryan McNamee. It would not prove to not be good news for the bad guys. At 4:43am Phoenix posted the following event that was captured on film by Mr. McNamee:
ON PATROL TONIGHT A MAN GOT STABBED BY A CRIMINAL IN BELLTOWN WE [PROCEDED] TO CHASE THE MAN FOR APPROXIMATELY 8 BLOCKS WE WERE ABLE TO SUBDUE HIM AND TELL THE POLICE ARRIVED THE MAN THAT GOT STABBED IS BEING TRANSFERRED TO HARBORVIEW AND IS IN STABLE CONDITION
In an ironic twist, according to Jones the Seattle Police Officer that quickly showed up on the scene at 3rd and Blanchard was the same officer that had arrested him back in October. This time around there would be no backseat and handcuffs for Phoenix Jones. The suspect, who allegedly has a lengthy criminal record, was arrested. Phoenix hopped into the front seat of the patrol car to help direct the officer to the area that a knife was suspected to have been ditched (but after a search could not be found). The victim was transported to Harborview Medical Center, and as of today, is reportedly in stable condition. Phoenix Jones was back on top, letting his actions speak louder than any words ever could.
Perhaps the biggest change, as the story of this event started popping up on the local Seattle newscasts, is how Phoenix is now being portrayed by the media. Before, the local, nation, and international news segments seemed to be somewhat dismissive and condescending in regard to Jones and the other Rain City Superheroes. When the October incident and arrest happened, news stories really dragged Phoenix Jones through the mud with a “dangerous masked-vigilantes causing havoc in the city” tone. It was an excellent example of the sensationalistic journalism style that has become all too prevalent in our society today. Almost anyone who took the time to actually watch the video of the October events could clearly see that the facts pointed towards Jones’ version of the story. Newscasts usually aired footage of Phoenix spraying the pepper spray, while shaking their fingers and admonishing what they painted as a man out of control. This time around, it seems like the actions of Phoenix Jones are being reported in a much more favorable light.
Is this somewhat balanced reporting due in part to the fact that Phoenix no longer has a secret identity? Is it because people now know more about him, like the fact that he helps feed homeless people and works with disabled children? Maybe these facts were the real story that should have been reported all along? If someone that does all of the noble deeds that Phoenix Jones does is a menace to society, I kind of wish we had more menaces. Nice work, Phoenix Jones and the Rain City Superhero Movement.