Phoenix Jones, citizen superhero, arrested and unmasked in Seattle

phoenix-jones-abc-news.jpg"Phoenix Jones," a self-proclaimed superhero with a history of injecting himself into situations in order to fight crime, was arrested in Seattle over the weekend. He was unmasked by police as Benjamin Francis and is now facing an assault charge for allegedly spraying pepper spray on a crowd of people. Francis claims they were fighting, the police claim they were dancing, reports ABC News.

Sporting his black and gold superhero costume, a bullet-proof vest and two cans of pepper spray, "Phoenix Jones" is a member of the Rain City Superhero Movement, a group that says they patrol the streets of Seattle to fight crime.

"Unfortunately, he used force. He committed a crime, an assault against these individuals. That's against the law," says Det. Mark Jamieson of the Seattle PD.

Peter Tangen, a photographer and spokesman for Phoenix, tells a different story.

"The first thing Phoenix did was to scream out to call 911. He's been doing this four or five nights a week this entire year and he has never been charged with a crime," says Tangen. "To assert that he ran into a bunch of people dancing and pepper sprayed them is entirely inconsistent with what he has done consistently this entire year."

The Rain City Superhero movement is just one of many similar groups in Orlando, New York City and Salt Lake City, among other places. The Salt Lake group is called the Black Monday Society and in addition to patrolling downtown SLC, they also deliver meals to the homeless.

"We applaud their civic-mindedness and that they want to be involved. That's all great. The problem and the concern that we have is that somebody is going to get hurt," says Jamieson, of the Rain City Superhero movement. "They don't have the training. They don't have the authority."

Jones is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, Oct. 13.

Photo/Video credit: ABC News
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