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Real Life Super Hero Arrested 590

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-super-enough dept.
First time accepted submitter Pat Attack writes "In an ironic twist of fate, Phoenix Jones, a self-styled super hero from Seattle, has landed in jail. Jones happened upon a group of people fighting in the street and tried to stop the fight using pepper spray. He was arrested by police on four counts of assault. The New York Daily News quotes Jones: 'I've been shot once and I don't really want it to happen again. I've been stabbed twice, hit with a baseball bat and had my nose broken,' he says. 'But in all those incidents I helped someone who was in danger. If someone is going to take that punishment it should be the guy in body armor,' he said."

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Real Life Super Hero Arrested

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  • by alphatel (1450715) * on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @10:02AM (#37689660)
    Phoenix, his eyes closed. Phoenix, when the walls fell.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      >If someone is going to take that punishment it should be the guy in body armor,' he said."

      His eyes wide open!

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @10:02AM (#37689662)

    For those wondering about these new "superheroes," it's actually a movement [wikipedia.org] of sorts. There was an excellent HBO documentary [imdb.com] on them a while back. They're even forming groups now. When I heard about the documentary, I just expected to laugh at these guys. But it's actually a very interesting portrait of some well-meaning, though often a little deluded, guys who really do want to make the world a better place. I ended up feeling both sorry for them and a little envious of them at the same time.

    One of the best points they made was that they are "patrolling" areas where the cops really don't give a shit. For example, at one point in the documentary a homeless guy gets run over by a car during one of the superhero group patrols. It's the "superheroes" who stop to help him. But when they call the cops to report it, they don't even show up. Even when they try to flag down a cop car as the guy is still laying on the ground bleeding, the cops just keep driving. It's the "superheroes" who take him to the hospital and then even track down the car that hit him (driven by an obviously intoxicated driver). But, again, when they call the cops on the drunk driver, they're basically told to fuck off.

    As crazy as these guys are, I can't say that I don't understand why they do what they do. It's not just a bunch of losers wanting to be the comic book heroes of their fantasies. Some of them really do look around and say that the world NEEDS superheroes, especially the neighborhoods where no one else (including the cops) seems to give a shit. Part of me wishes I could have their faith in humanity. They may be deluded, but they're certainly not do-nothing cynics.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by esocid (946821)
      They may not be do-nothing cynics, but the last thing we need is deluded people with "martial arts training" running around macing people.
      • by tmosley (996283) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @10:18AM (#37689820)
        I would say we need these guys a lot more than we need thugs assaulting each other or random people in the streets.

        If I got jumped by a bunch of guys, I would rather have someone in body armor show up with mace than no-one at all.
        • by Dr_Barnowl (709838) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @10:24AM (#37689924)

          Yeah, one of the most poignant lines in Kick Ass is where he's valiantly trying to fight off a bunch of guys kicking the shit out of someone (and him too). One of the assailants says "The fuck is wrong with you, man? You'd rather die for some piece of shit that you don't even fucking know?" and he replies "The three assholes, laying into one guy while everybody else watches? And you wanna know what's wrong with me?"

          • by Chris Burke (6130) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @12:01PM (#37691402) Homepage

            I wish that movie had stayed with the tone established in the first half by scenes like that one, instead of turning into a Matrix-y kung-fu movie with the appearance of Big Daddy and Hit Girl. Good characters, but really ruined the promise the movie had up to that point. But I guess you can't go the semi-realistic hero-gets-beaten-to-shit route once you involve a 10 year old hero... which is why they shouldn't have...

            With these real-life costumed vigilantes, I understand where they're coming from, but I don't really agree with where they go to. They put on costumes to protect their identity, but it also grants anonymity (up until they get arrested) and a sense of being separate and special. So they're more likely to intervene in cases where they really shouldn't. Like, perhaps, this one.

            By the way, I heard on the news the 911 call Phoenix Jones made to report the fight. The dispatcher asked "What are you wearing?", and the awkward pause before he answered "A yellow and black rubber suit" was precious. :)

          • by hey! (33014) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @01:05PM (#37692286) Homepage Journal

            Yeah, but the problem is with vigilantes is that there's no guarantee they'll agree with you what an "asshole" is in less clear-cut cases. Sure, if a vigilante rescues me from being beaten up, I'd be grateful. But what if he "rescues" me from buying liquor, or porn, or having an abortion? The fantasy of being a vigilante isn't limited to doing good, it includes getting to decide what *is* good to do. And without somebody looking over your shoulder, it's easy to screw that up.

            Take this case. If you watch the video (http://vimeo.com/30307440), you see a bunch of people -- probably drunk -- standing around while a couple of guys are doing the bear-hugging drunk fight thing. Then Mr. Jones wades in with his Jumbo-sized can of pepper spray. Who's to say he didn't do more harm than these guys were going to do to each other?

            When we imagine ourselves as superheroes, we imagine ourselves with superhuman traits to go with it. Even if that doesn't include obvious superpowers, it includes non-obvious ones: superhuman judgment (always being right) and superhuman luck (always winning in the end). The reality is that people are fallible. Of course the cops are fallible too, but they have one big advantage: numbers. Even if they don't arrive in force, even a single cop has the promise of dozens of others at his call. The best way to end a fight like this is overwhelming force, which Mr. Jones does not possess. He has to bring a weapon into the fight, thus *escalating* the conflict.

            Everything you don't like about cops can be true of vigilantes, except they don't regard themselves as accountable to anyone else even in *principle*.

            • by ErikZ (55491) *

              Give me a break Mr Lawyer.

              Oh NO. He's saving me from buying liquor! How exactly are you seeing that happening? He charges into the store and points and you, shouting "Stop!"

              You worry about super heroes doing things that so far, only the government has been successful at.

            • by cusco (717999) <<brian.bixby> <at> <gmail.com>> on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @02:49PM (#37693772)
              Of course the cops are fallible too

              Cops have an extreme disadvantage as opposed to vigilantes: lack of local knowledge. Vigilantes, whether it be these 'superheroes' or community policing organizations or just a bunch of neighbors, KNOW who is the bad guy because they live there. They're not coming from some precinct house ten miles away, they're not driving in from their homes in suburbia, they live down the street and see the crack dealer on the corner every evening, see the pimp smacking 'his' girls around, talk to the neighbor who saw the little weasel crawling in the broken window. They're not cruising down the main street in a squad car, they walk down the alley and stand at the bus stop, they ride their bike down the hill and shop at the grocery store, have a drink at the bar, hang out at the ice cream stand. No police force in North America (and damn few elsewhere) will ever have the local knowledge necessary to do their job adequately, they're just not set up that way.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by wisty (1335733)

              What separates a "vigilante" from other people is that they take justice into their own hands. Breaking up a fight is legal. Making a citizen's arrest is legal (provided you do it legally - there's laws). In some jurisdictions, holding a rioter down until the cops get there is legal (detention to prevent a breach of the peace). Walking around with a mag-light and a mobile phone, and calling the cops if you see a crime is legal.

              Breaking up a fight using excessive force, then kneecapping the guy you think was

        • I would say we need these guys a lot more than we need thugs assaulting each other or random people in the streets.

          I only half agree. If groups of thugs want to kill each other off, I don't have a problem with that. It's only when they start attacking other people that it's a problem...

          • It wasn't until I read your comment that I realized the guy you replied to was describing the bad guys.

            I thought he meant the police.

            • by Thing 1 (178996)
              Cops rarely assault cops. Blue wall and all that.
        • by niko9 (315647)

          I would say we need these guys a lot more than we need thugs assaulting each other or random people in the streets.

          If I got jumped by a bunch of guys, I would rather have someone in body armor show up with mace than no-one at all.

          Then I would say you and these self anointed "super heroes"are supremely ignorant of the laws governing the use of force, deadly force and self-defense. There is centuries of well established law (dating back to medieval England) governing when it is appropriate for civilians to use force and deadly force against assailants.

          Anybody who likes to consider them a well informed citizen should read

      • by elrous0 (869638) *

        You might be pretty happy to see them if you were in trouble and the cops just kept driving. I'd rather have some well-meaning, if a little deluded, "superhero" help me out than some lazy-ass cop who acts like I'm waking him up from nap-time when I dial 911.

        Fortunately I live in the kind of neighborhood where I can dial 911 and the cops will show up in minutes and call me "sir" to boot. But not everyone does.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Depending on the city and the police force you call even nice neighborhoods get ignored. I live in a relatively nice middle class neighborhood in one of the top 5 cities in the US by population. Cheap houses are $200K and expensive ones are $300K-$500K (after the bubble collapse). We have a deal with the local county cops where we pay them or donate to police charity or something and they patrol our area (which IMO ought to be illegal but apparently isn't and no I'm not talking about taxes) but we are al

      • yup, much better to have cops with tasers 'running around' using only their own judgement.

        hey, at least those thugs are better dressed and all in same-looking gang attire, too! they don't go by name but instead by number (although their friends know their real names). hmmm, yeah, is it kind of gang like, isn't it?

      • by mr1911 (1942298)
        So, you are against the police?

        Oh wait, too many of the donut eaters couldn't survive a single, serious martial arts workout. So we give them Tasers and guns. But that didn't do anything about the delusions. And yes, many of them are more deluded than the "superhero" group.

        You look down on these guys and call them deluded when the are helping others. The folks they helped are exceptionally grateful these guys are around.

        Hopefully you never need someone bigger and stronger to defend you. If you
    • by Maquis196 (535256) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @10:16AM (#37689796)

      There should be a legal way of being a "superhero", which lets face it, unless they have something wrong with them means the person is not a vigilante but just wants to help.

      For example, I live in London and here we have something called special constables who get regular police training and donate their spare time to being a police officer with all the privileges and titles of that role. For this they get free travel and expenses (basically lunch/dinner). Would it be so hard for cities all over the world to have similar programmes? If someone can pass the training AND they're doing it for free, they can be that superhero patrolling the neighbourhoods that career police aren't interested in, hell; if you keep patrolling the same neighbourhood you get attached to it and the people to you which means you can learn more as well about what needs to be done. We also have something called Safer Neighbourhoods for this as well, it can work in places outside of London I'm sure.

      Spoken as an ex- community support officer in London so I might be biased for police slightly. /Maq

      • by DarkOx (621550)

        There should be a legal way of being a "superhero", which lets face it, unless they have something wrong with them means the person is not a vigilante but just wants to help.

        Contact you local police force and find out if they have an "Auxiliary"

        I don't know about London but lots of US police forces have Auxiliarys that citizens can join. They usually volunteers, they get some weekend training, but nothing on the level of an actual office, and some more limited police powers, depends on the state and local laws.

        • by Inda (580031) <slash.20.inda@spamgourmet.com> on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @10:34AM (#37690058) Journal
          We have two sorts plastic policemen in the UK.

          The Specials (not the yellow bus type) - full body amour, full powers, part timers, normally attend Friday and Saturday night pissed up punch-ups and football matches. Hated because they do it for free - it's all about gaining power and gold stars.

          Community Service Officers - no power, only report crimes. Jumped up little Hitlers. The next step up from a traffic warden. Useless waste of money as they get paid a wage.
        • ... and then you'll be privy to all the excitement of setting up traffic detours and hanging around construction sites! Auxiliary police do nothing but harmless gopher work.
      • by tgd (2822)

        For example, I live in London and here we have something called special constables who get regular police training and donate their spare time to being a police officer with all the privileges and titles of that role.

        Contrary to (their) popular belief, in the US cops can't beat the shit out of people because they're breaking the law.

      • by Hatta (162192)

        There should be a legal way of being a "superhero",

        Perform a citizens arrest on Lloyd Blankfein, and you'll be a real super hero.

    • by Xacid (560407)

      Full video here: http://vimeo.com/30307440 [vimeo.com]

      And yeah, given the response we're seeing in these articles by the police even after seeing the video ourselves it just shows precisely what these guys are trying to change.

      From another article I read they wouldn't even hear about the hit and run you see on the video let alone everything else that's clearly an altercation going on.

    • by daid303 (843777) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @10:25AM (#37689932)

      Superheroes my ass. These people are not superheroes. Superheroes are people with special powers they use for good.

      These guys are better then superheroes. They are real life heroes. They do good things, just to help people, and not because they have special powers, they do it without special powers! Calling them superheroes like they are from a comic book with special powers doesn't do them right.

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @10:36AM (#37690090) Journal

        Superheroes are people with special powers they use for good.

        *nerd hat on*

        What about Batman or the Green Arrow? Unless 'having lots of money' is a special power, they didn't have any. They just put on body armour and went and helped people - making them a much better role model than someone like Superman who is basically invulnerable.

        *nerd hat off*

        • by Serenissima (1210562) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @10:51AM (#37690348)

          *nerd hat off*

          If you're posting on Slashdot, I'm pretty sure that hat doesn't come off ;)

        • by kikito (971480)

          Batman's being able to do what he does for more than one season is already a superpower.

          Any normal human being, even with the extreme training and the suit, would have stopped in 6 months or so. They would fall bad and get a sprain. They would accumulate small traumas on the head. Those things pile up. He either has super-damage-avoiding, super-regeneration, or simply super-luck.

          Not to mention that in addition to being extremely fit, he's allegedly extremely intelligent and cultivated. I'd call that super-g

        • by Dekker3D (989692)

          "Having lots of money" actually counts, in my eyes. At least, if it's inherited. It's still something that just happens to you, that most people aren't blessed with. It also makes the decision to fight crime a lot easier, since you can afford proper equipment.

        • by sheehaje (240093)

          Batman had super money. And a super chip on his shoulder. I guess that's not a super power, but well above ordinary joe that wants to help people.

        • by hoggoth (414195) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @12:33PM (#37691826) Journal

          Yeah, I never got the love for Superman either. Nothing can hurt him, so how is he heroic?

          It used to crack me up when the old black-and-white Superman TV show had him stand there chest out while the bad guys shot at him, then when they ran out of bullets and threw the gun at him HE WOULD DUCK to dodge the thrown gun!?

      • Pretty much. The idea of a superhero is someone that can do good against the odds and live another day to do it all over again. It's the classic morale boosting story about how good can always overcome evil. This is why such stories are mainly presented to children. It's uplifting. Unfortunately the real world isn't so kind with reality siding with evil as being effective. And let's face it, there have been many evil men and regimes that have been very very effective at accomplishing their goals. But yes, t

    • by 2fuf (993808) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @10:36AM (#37690094)

      Reading the news lately feels more and more like reading the Onion

    • "Some of them really do look around and say that the world NEEDS superheroes"

      They may even be right, but they seem to have forgotten a core tenant of super-heroing: the secret identity. Spider-Man and Daredevil and Batman don't go on TV shows, use their real names, or wait for cops to arrive. They wear a mask, keep their identity secret, kick the crap out of bad guys, and then get out of dodge before the police arrive (a heavy subplot of the early days of Batman is that the cops were trying to nab him as ha

  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @10:10AM (#37689742) Journal
    The TV in India was in the firm grip of the Govt of India till about the early 1990s. All programming was decided by bureaucrats drawing a govt salary with absolutely no incentive to worry about how well the audience liked it. So most Desi[*] kids were protected from the knowledge about super heros. One of the things that happened along with liberalization of India was the first super hero TV serial named "Shaktiman" (loosely translated as powerful man), who flew into the rescue of all the helpless. Well, suddenly a few Desi kids jumped off their balconies hoping to be rescued by Shaktiman. Caused quite a stir and media flurry then. I think one of those kids landed on its head, got deranged and grew up to the Phoenix Jones.

    [*] Desi is a better term than Indian. Thanks to Columbus' misnaming, native Americans are also called Indians. Desi is not a derogatory reference. Use if freely and get it into OED.

  • by Dyinobal (1427207) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @10:11AM (#37689748)
    Ironically or maybe sadly he got more of a punishment than that NYC cop who maced those protesting girls, for no reason.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @10:18AM (#37689816)

      Officer Anthony Bologna has yet to be given his comeuppance.

  • by orphiuchus (1146483) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @10:12AM (#37689752)

    Dog carcass in alley this morning, tire tread on burst stomach. This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout "Save us!"... and I'll look down and whisper "No." They had a choice, all of them. They could have followed in the footsteps of good men like my father or President Truman. Decent men who believed in a day's work for a day's pay. Instead they followed the droppings of lechers and communists and didn't realize that the trail led over a precipice until it was too late. Don't tell me they didn't have a choice. Now the whole world stands on the brink, staring down into bloody Hell, all those liberals and intellectuals and smooth-talkers... and all of a sudden nobody can think of anything to say.

  • It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Pepperman
  • by Chas (5144) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @10:23AM (#37689902) Homepage Journal

    Seriously. I understand what he's trying to do and "say".

    In the society we currently inhabit, people are encouraged to be complete assholes to one another. As such, he was going to get arrested sooner or later for something like this.

    Jumping on someone to stop battery is, itself, battery. So all one of these drunk little hooligans needed to do was tell the cop they wanted to press charges.

  • Sod super heroes. I want a super-vilain.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @10:43AM (#37690202)

    Phoenix Jones does NOT represent the typical "real life superhero". He is sponsored and equipped by media companies, he "patrols" with reporters and cameramen in tow, and he is a professed "outsider" who claims to be "better" than the rest of us, even thought he is among the newest of us - he's only been around for a year or so.

    SOME of us don't go for the publicity, don't dress up, and don't wear masks, but we still patrol our neighborhoods and help people when we can. Some of us don't even call ourselves "heroes", just concerned citizen patrolmen, extreme altruists (X-Alts), and other less-lofty titles. Some of us have been doing this under your collective noses for as long as 20 years, and have never been in jail, or had any complaints. Especially from those we help. Some of us dress in colorful costumes and do nothing but homeless outreach, keeping people alive on the streets (like Thanatos in Vancouver, look HIM up!). The costume is used to draw attention to the cause. Some of us simply do outreach or neighborhood crime fighting without costumes. Some of us are animal right activists, some are environmentalists, some just help by shoveling snow off of people's drives.

    A great many of us are trained in relevant fields - we have tons of soldiers, cops, EMT/Paramedics, nurses, security guards, firefighters, private investigators, high-level computer geeks, etc. Sure, we have our share of basement-dwelling kids and thrill-seekers, but those tend to get weeded out pretty quickly if their heads and hearts aren't in the right place. Phoenix stands apart, both by choice and consensus. Most of us predicted he'd end up in jail, and unfortunately, he has.

    Point is, we come in all flavors, from quiet and in the background, to media-hounding insanity.
    So while you guys are yukking it up, try to remember that this man is NOT typical in our group.
    Find out the real truth for yourselves.

  • by iggymanz (596061) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @10:55AM (#37690394)

    Officer at scene says there was no fight. Friends involved said there was no fight. This "super hero" in fact is just a self-filled Super Pest, who is becoming obnoxious and running up to people being boisterous and having a good time and spraying them with pepper spray. This character did some good in the past but now he's delusional and a nuisance. Police have warned him before that if he continues to jump into situations of which he has no understanding, he'll be arrested for assaulting people with pepper spray. Add to this that this "super hero" is a mixed martial artist, that makes him dangerous to the public. He should be locked up, he's crossed the line.

    • by Aeiri (713218) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @11:36AM (#37691032)
      Uhhh.... okay. Friends claim there is no fight, fine. They still hit a random guy with their car: http://vimeo.com/30307440 [vimeo.com] I'm no fan of vigilantism and I think he was being a self-righteous ass in this instance, but there WAS crime being committed, people were getting attacked.
  • by rubycodez (864176) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @11:01AM (#37690488)
    Phoenix used to do some good, but now runs up to innocent people horsing around and douses them with pepper spray, as in this case. His fantasy has run away with himself, he is now a public nuisance. Being charged with assault and battery might wake him back into reality.
  • by jockeys (753885) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @11:15AM (#37690702) Journal
    Where is the line between hero and vigilante? I want to believe that people like this are a good idea, but having seen human nature, I simply cannot.

    Human nature + anonymity + enough time = unpardonable act of vigilante "justice"
    Watch and wait.
  • by kangsterizer (1698322) on Wednesday October 12, 2011 @11:15AM (#37690706)

    I know, sounds as cheesy as it can get.

    Still - I, for one, already got into a fight with bad people. 6v1 with knifes kind of bad people, who just wanted my belongings and more likely, just something to hit, because I'd gladly leave my belongings and keep on living like anybody else.

    As it was inside a moving train, I "resisted" for a few minutes, and people just went away (mind you, no one called for help, police, guards, etc), leaving me with my problems. It became bad when they took out the knifes.
    Well, lucky day, that's when a super hero came in and kicked them out. An ex military, and the kind you just see in movies. It was easily won 2v6 (and I'm no fighter).

    I'm glad he was there. Next time he'll call 911 instead and watch me die, right? Thanks for the tip police it sounds like the right thing to do!

    I'm telling you, in any situation like that where you know you're actually able to help (obviously this guy was) - fucking do it. If you're not, then do call 911.

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