Jones in his costume in Seattle.
|Born||Benjamin John Francis Fodor
1988 (age 24–25)
|Occupation||Costumed Vigilante (Phoenix Jones disputes this label), MMA fighter|
|Known for||Confronting alleged lawbreakers while dressed in a superhero costume.|
Phoenix Jones (born Benjamin John Francis Fodor, 1988 in Texas) is the leader of the Rain City Superhero Movement, a Seattle, Washington based citizen patrol group that describes itself as a crime prevention brigade. Initially wearing a ski mask to intervene in a public assault, Fodor later went on to develop a full costume and adopted "Phoenix Jones" as a pseudonym. Jones is an American citizen and a resident of Seattle.
Jones says the best way to prevent getting mistaken for a criminal by the police is to wear a "supersuit", although local police have expressed concern that the strange costumes may lead to emergency calls from citizens who mistake the "superheroes" for criminals. Jones says that all members of the Rain City Superhero Movement have a military or mixed martial arts background.
Adoption of persona
Jones says he wanted to take policing matters into his own hands after a few incidents changed his mind about Seattle. The first was when Jones says that his car was broken into and his son was injured after returning to the vehicle and falling on the broken glass. Jones was told that several people saw the break-in happen, but did not intervene. According to Jones the car window had been broken by a rock with a ski mask wrapped around it, which Jones left in the car's glove box. Later, Jones says that he encountered a friend being seriously assaulted outside a bar, and after calling 911 he put on the mask from the earlier break-in and "made a commotion" until the police showed up. "And I thought, why didn’t someone help him? There were seventy people outside that bar and no one did anything."
Jones went on to develop a full costume and pseudonym, when his crime-fighting behavior made him too recognizable. In a CBS news broadcast, Jones is shown entering a back room of an unnamed comic book store in which he changes into costume which consists of a Dragon Skin brand bulletproof vest and stab plating, as well as equipment including a stun baton, pepper spray or tear gas, handcuffs and a first aid kit.
Jones later became part of the Rain City Superhero Movement. In July 2011, local police recorded ten citizens patrolling the city in superhero costumes, using the names Thorn, Buster Doe, Green Reaper, The Mantis, Gemini, No Name, Catastrophe, Thunder 88, Penelope and Phoenix Jones. An individual using the pseudonym "Red Dragon" has also self-identified as being a member of the group. Jones's wife is a member of the Rain City Superhero Movement, under the name "Purple Reign".
- On Sunday, January 2, 2011, in Lynnwood, Phoenix Jones stopped and chased away a car thief as the car owner (who asked to be identified only as "Dan") stood by in shock as Jones ran into action. CBS News introduced Dan and Phoenix Jones to one another the following Monday evening. Dan proceeded to thank Jones numerous times while later talking about Phoenix's gear.
- A few days later, ABC News aired a news story covering Jones. In this report, footage shows Phoenix Jones preventing an intoxicated man from entering his car. Jones resulted in him threatening to use a stun baton as the angry and inebriated man approaches Jones with the intent to fight. In the video, a police officer is shown later talking to Phoenix Jones and his group regarding the effect masks may have on an intoxicated individual.
- On Saturday, the September 24, 2011, in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, Phoenix Jones doused a man with pepper spray after he attempted to steal a bus. The driver of the bus had been handing out fliers when another individual attempted to steal the bus. Jones was reported to have intervened and the hijacker escaped with his skin dyed orange due to the spray. Jones says he didn’t receive any help from Seattle police, who took hours to respond to the incident.
- On Sunday, October 9, 2011, in Seattle, Jones was arrested for his role in an altercation involving pepper spray. Close associates, who were present and equipped with a video camera, told reporters that Phoenix Jones broke up an unfair fight between two groups of nightclub patrons. According to police reports, the officers who responded determined that "there was no fight", with one member of the group denying that anyone among them had been fighting. They asked that the masked man be "arrested for attacking them." According to one woman who was involved in the altercation, after an argument had broken out between her group and another, Jones suddenly approached and pepper sprayed them, saying "I'm a superhero". The next day, videographer Ryan McNamee uploaded a video online showing Jones responding to what McNamee described as a "huge fight". Jones was released on bail hours later with no charges having been filed.
- In another incident several hours earlier, Phoenix Jones had come to the defense of a potential fight victim. Police arrived after the aggressors had fled. In their report, the police called it a case of "questionable use of pepper spray", but the victim later told the Seattle Times that Jones was indeed a hero who had saved him from "a potential beat-down".
- On Sunday, the November 27, 2011, near the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle, Phoenix Jones and crew followed a man accused of stabbing another man. They prevented the attacker from fleeing until the Seattle police arrived.
- On Friday, the January 6, 2012, Phoenix Jones and crew stopped a fight at the same location of the New Year’s Eve shooting in Belltown.
- On Tuesday, May 1, 2012, a blogger reported that Phoenix Jones had pepper sprayed black bloc protesters in downtown Seattle, although Jones denied this on Twitter. In an interview on the Bob Rivers Show on May 2, Phoenix Jones asserted that, while undercover with the protesters, several of them revealed to him a plot to bomb the city courthouse. According to Phoenix Jones, after telling the police and receiving no support, he and another member of the Rain City Superhero Movement intercepted the protesters at the courthouse and acted in self-defense as the protesters began throwing rocks and bottles through the windows and glass doors of the court house. Fellow costumed activists El Caballero and Midnightjack accompanied Phoenix Jones.
When asked if he would have someone arrested for smoking cannabis (drug), Jones said he considered it a low priority, and that he has no problem with people using drugs, but wants drug dealers to "sell somewhere else."
Jones reports being stabbed with a knife while trying to intervene with a drug dealer and a citizen, damaging part of his costume which had to be repaired. He has told police that his ballistic vest helped stop a bullet during an incident in Tacoma.
In 2011, Jones claims to have had his nose broken by an assailant while attempting to break up a fight, when one of the men pulled a gun on him while another one kicked him, breaking his nose. This incident was never reported to police, and was treated by Jones' private doctor.
In October 2011, Jones was arrested for investigation of assault, after using pepper spray to break up an alleged fight. He spent approximately seven hours in jail before posting the $3,800 bail. No charges were filed and the case was dropped later that month.
Jones appeared in court wearing a black and gray striped shirt over his costume on October 13, 2011. A court officer asked Jones to remove his mask, and he complied, putting the mask back on after the hearing. Jones then spoke with reporters and removed his mask again to reveal his identity as Ben Fodor. Fodor stated that he would continue patrolling the city:
I will continue to patrol with my team, probably tonight [October 13, 2011]. In addition to being Phoenix Jones, I am also Ben Fodor, father and brother. I am just like everybody else. The only difference is that I try to stop crime in my neighborhood and everywhere else. I think I have to look toward the future and see what I can do to help the city.
Mixed martial arts
Jones holds an 11-1-0 record in unsanctioned amateur mixed martial arts fights, and a 4-0-0 professional fight record. His fight name is listed as "Fear the Flattop". He is the brother of Strikeforce MMA fighter Caros Fodor.
- Nicole Neroulias, "Seattle's superhero vigilante has his day in court", Reuters, 13 October 2011
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- Phoenix Jones Attacked By Stiletto – The Full Assault Video | Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movies and TV News and Rumors
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- . Interview with Bob Rivers. The Bob Rivers Morning Show on 95.7 KJR FM.
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- "Ben Fodor (11-1-0) Official Mixed Martial Arts Record". Mixedmartialarts.com. Retrieved 2011-10-14.
- "Benjamin Fodor - MMAUniverse.com | Benjamin Fodor's Fight Record, Stats, Photos, News and more!". MMAUniverse.com. Retrieved 2011-10-14.
- "Strikeforce lightweight Caros Fodor discusses his 'superhero' brother, would love to fight him".