At around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday morning,>"/>
UPDATE, 12:33 p.m.: The Smoking Gun just unmasked Jones as 23-year-old Benjamin Fodor.
photo by Sy Bean
At around 2:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, four friends left a Pioneer Square nightclub and headed home for the night. According to a Seattle police report, the group was having a fantastic time, to the point that they began "dancing and frolicking around with each other" as they approached their cars parked under the Alaskan Way Viaduct near Columbia Street. The festive mood, however, wasn't meant to last. One woman told police that a man wearing a black and gold "Spider Man" costume suddenly came sprinting out of the night and unleashed a blinding cloud of pepper spray on them. They told police "they had no idea why this person suddenly attacked them."
Even though he was wearing a mask, it didn't take police officers long to deduce that the attacker was likely Phoenix Jones, the self-proclaimed Guardian of Seattle. The cops found Jones a few blocks away and booked him into King County Jail on four counts of assault. He claims that rather than "frolicking," the group was actually involved in a massive street brawl.
Jones posted video from the incident this morning on his Facebook page:
Phoenix Jones Stops Assault from Ryan McNamee on Vimeo. The Blair Witch-style footage shows Jones standing on First Avenue when he sees a large group of people fighting a block away on Western Avenue. Jones runs headlong into the scrum, can of pepper spray in hand.
The combatants separate, and one enraged woman repeatedly strikes Jones and his sidekick Ghost with her shoes. Things cool off for a moment, then a silver BMW speeds past Jones and into the alley. He takes off after it. When he returns, several men confront the so-called superhero, at which point he unleashes another torrent of pepper spray. The group chases Jones in their cars, and Jones and his entourage take refuge across the street in the Ferry Terminal. Police arrive on the scene a few minutes later.
The police reportedly viewed footage of an earlier fight, but officer Hosea Crumpton notes that Jones "could not explain why four people, including women, had been sprayed."
According to the SPD report, it wasn't the first time that night Jones had discharged a can of pepper spray into a crowd. "Recently there have been increased reports of citizens being pepper-sprayed by [Jones] and his group," the report says.
SPD spokesman Mark Jamieson says there were two other pepper-spray incidents on Saturday night and Sunday morning, both on the 100 block of Occidental Avenue South. The first took place at around 11:30 p.m. and "involved people getting kicked out of bar," Jamieson says. Jones and his crew arrived on the scene, and, according to Jamieson, discharged a can of pepper spray. "All parties [were] gone by the time officers got there," Jamieson says. "No one wanted to do anything about it." A nearly identical pepper-spray incident took place at the same location just before 1 a.m. on Sunday.
Jones' Los Angeles-based publicist and spokesman Peter Tangen did not return a message seeking comment on the arrest and SPD report. Jones himself posted a message last night on Twitter saying that he "would never assault or hurt another person if they were not causing harm to another human being."
The SPD report contains Jones' real name. Some media outlets have a policy to not identify suspects until they are actually charged with a crime. Seattle Weekly has no such policy -- particularly when media-hungry public figures are involved -- but given that Jones appears to be telling the truth about the fact that he was not the aggressor, we are withholding his name until prosecutors decide to press charges. He is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday, and will likely face four counts of misdemeanor assault.
That said, we've known Jones' real name for quite some time. He and his questionable exploits were the subject of a Seattle Weekly feature story back in June, and we agreed to protect his identity then because he claimed unmasking him could put him and family at risk.
Instead, we used his legal name to search public records and the court system for previous incidents. The former cage fighter has 22 entries in the Washington Courts database, mostly for minor traffic violations. He has also been cited six times for driving without a license, driving without insurance, and/or driving with his license suspended. He was booked during a traffic stop in Snohomish County for "refusal to give information to or cooperate with an officer."
His most serious legal trouble is a restraining order filed against him by a fellow "real life superhero" named Mr. Raven Blade, who alleges that Jones threatened to kill him after he posted a scathing message about Jones online. Raven Blade told Seattle Weekly he saw Jones drive past his house and point at him with his thumb and forefinger, "like if you're a kid playing cops and robbers and trying to shoot somebody."