The Seattle Police Department is in hot water after a fight video involving local crime fighter Phoenix Jones went viral.
Jones, real name Benjamin Fodor, is known in the Seattle area for donning a superhero costume and patrolling the city with the Rain City Superhero Movement, a group of 10 dressed-up civilian crime fighters. On Friday, Nov. 9, during one such patrol, Jones and his crew calmly confronted a drunken man who looked to be causing trouble.
“He was over near this car, and he’s been yelling at this car, slamming his fist on the hood, so I start to call 911 and he punches the window and the window cracks,” Jones told MyNorthwest.com. “So me and my guys go over and split it up.”
The intoxicated man then chose to focus his rage on Jones and his fellow crime fighters, who tried to diffuse the situation and began to walk away until the former spewed a racial slur at Jones, who’s black, and threatened to follow him home.
At this point, the masked crusader confronted the unidentified man and offered to fight him, to which he consented.
The state of Washington permits “mutual combat,” wherein two individuals are legally allowed to fight each other if both have provided their consent.
As the two men are about to engage, a police officer arrives. Instead of preventing the altercation, he allows it to happen. Jones, who’s trained in mixed martial arts, knocks out his opponent and then walks away at the request of the police officer.
The whole incident was captured on video and uploaded to YouTube by a Jones’ friend. Since it was uploaded last Friday, the video has been viewed close to 450,000 times.
On Tuesday, amidst criticism, Seattle Police Department Sergeant Sean Whitcomb defended the aforementioned police officer’s actions on local radio program The Dori Monson Show.
“I’m not going to second guess the officers who were out at the scene and who had a much broader perspective of everything else that wasn’t captured by that phone camera,” Whitcomb told Monson.
“On this particular case we showed up, we tried to keep the peace and maintain order which is our job. We encourage people to go their separate ways, that didn’t happen. We looked at the different options available to us and the officers on the scene were very patient, very calm. They did their best to de-escalate the situation.”
Phoenix Jones has not yet been charged with any crime.
Drunken Seattleites looking to cause some trouble: Take heed from the above video and don’t challenge a trained masked vigilante to a fight, lest you want to end up on YouTube.
Photo via tofuguns/Flickr