This week's cover story takes an in-depth look at self-described "superhero" Phoenix Jones, following him on one of his foot patrols through downtown Seattle, attempting to verify his tales of harrowing encounters with criminals, and shedding some light on the man behind the mask. In addition to the written account by yours truly, photographer Sy Bean filmed some of the scenes described in the story. We produced a short movie about the experience, and here it is, just in time for summer blockbuster season:
We took Jones' advice and did contact Seattle Police, requesting information about every call for service and incident report that mentions Jones and/or his real name. From the story:
So who is this masked man with the cojones to call himself the "Guardian of Seattle"? How did he engineer his faster-than-a-speeding-bullet ascent to celebrity? And, more important, has he really helped police catch any criminals?
Jones has a Los Angeles-based publicist to help hone his image as a knight in shining rubber. And to hear him tell it, he's only in the game to do good.
"Fighting crime in the mask and rubber suit, no matter how awesome I do or how many criminals I lock up, eventually it will lose its appeal to the people," he says. "The goal is for the people to be inspired by what I do. The goal is to inspire people to not put up with petty crimes."
But while Jones is busy puffing up his body armor-protected chest on the nightly news, in real life he has accumulated a 22-entry-long court record filled mostly with minor violations, but also including a restraining order after he allegedly made death threats against another costumed crusader. And though police reports and 911 recordings obtained by Seattle Weekly indicate that Jones has, in fact, phoned in numerous suspected lawbreakers over the past seven months, the records show that his efforts have resulted in more amusing whiffs than actual arrests.