Phoenix Jones (who has now had his secret identity leaked as Benjamin Fordor by the police) is the most well-known and polarizing figure in the Real Life Superhero movement. People either seem to love Phoenix, or go out of their way to discredit his efforts. Jones has appeared on nationally televised morning talk shows, and in the pages of slick magazines. There was even a comic based on Phoenix Jones that was in development (art, imitating life, imitating art). He is often the target of hatchet-job news stories, dismissed as crazy on TV news segments, and inevitably compared to Kick-Ass. He even draws fire from other members of the RLSH community, likely out of envy for his early national and international exposure. A local newspaper, the Seattle Weekly, even wrote a brutal article about Jones that called into question his personal traffic ticket history, injuries, and accomplishments like convictions of the alleged criminals that he has helped bring to justice. Phoenix claims to have had his nose broken, weapons pulled on him, and even to have been stabbed in his pursuit to make the world a better place. No one ever said being a superhero is easy.
Phoenix Jones patrols my home city of Seattle, WA. I have met him many times, either while he is out trying to keep our city safe, or at local conventions. He is actually a very kind and polite man. He started out with a makeshift costume, handing out food to the homeless and breaking up the inevitable fights in the city’s many nightlife hot spots. Later his costume and crime fighting methods would evolve and become more sophisticated. Legend has it that Jones started down the path of protector after his car window was smashed-out and his young daughter cut herself on the broken glass. His physical fitness and background in mixed-martial arts would prove to be useful skills.
Don’t get the wrong idea, Phoenix Jones is not out there picking fights with the Seattle populace. His modus operandi is to get between combatants in an effort to reduce harm to the combatants and bystanders. Now days he even has a team of colleagues known as The Rain City Superheroes, that patrol independently and in conjunction with Jones. This group tries to capture crimes on camera to be used as evidence, and call police to respond to the scene in a timely manner. Jones is very respectful of local law enforcement, even going as far as to report to them what neighborhood he will be patrolling and when. He has learned his lesson after police would roll up to a crime scene and not know that the man in the mask was on their side. I am sure it made for some very awkward moments.
Unfortunately Phoenix Jones found himself on the wrong side of the law this past weekend. Over the weekend at 2:30 a.m. Sunday in the morning Jones was intervening to break up what he claims was a fight, when the situation went sideways on him. Jones’ people immediately called 911. When police arrived, four people that claimed to have been dancing had been pepper-sprayed. Jones was arrested on four counts of assault, and later released.
Luckily Phoenix had a journalist in tow that was filming him on this particular occasion. The incident was caught on video, and remains muddled and tangled at this point. Hopefully the truth and justice will rule the day. For Phoenix Jones sake, I certainly hope so. Jones released the following statements on his Facebook page (yes, he always types in all caps):
I WOULD NEVER ASSAULT OR HURT ANOTHER PERSON IF THEY WERE NOT CAUSING HARM TO ANOTHER HUMAN BEING
MY WIFE AND I HAVE DECIDED TO POST THE VIDEO OF THE RECENT INCIDENT THAT HAS BEEN IN THE NEWS THE VIDEO WILL BE POSTED IN ITS ENTIRETY UNEDITED RAW FOOTAGE THERE WILL BE SCREEN SHOTS TO BETTER VIEW THE CRIME I WITNESSED AND STOPPED ALSO IF YOU KNOW THE PERSON INVOLVED IN THE HIT AND RUN/ATTEMPTED MURDER OF THE MAN I SAVED PLEASE CONTACT YOUR LOCAL POLICE (I HAVE A SCREEN SHOT OF THE LICENSE PLATE AND WILL PROVIDE IT TO THE POLICE ALONG WITH YOUR STATEMENT) AS SOON AS MY LEGAL TEAM HAS FULLY REVIEWED THE VIDEO I WILL POST IT FOR YOU HERE (HOPEFULLY WITHIN THE NEXT FEW HOURS
I honestly hope everything works out in the end. Personally, I think Phoenix Jones’ biggest asset is his ability to inspire people. Love him or hate him, there is no denying that he has done just that. His Facebook fan page received thousands of likes so quickly after it went up, that it was unbelievable. Will he be able to carry on his RLSH work, now that his identity has been revealed and this story has made the rounds as the curious “flavor of the day” on the national news circuit? That remains to be seen. I can tell you this: Phoenix Jones is a fighter and a man of conviction, don’t count him out just yet.