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Charges dropped against Seattle 'superhero' Phoenix Jones

City Attorney Pete Holmes said there were “proof problems” in bringing a case against Ben Fodor/Phoenix Jones, but insists he is “no hero”.

File photo of Benjamin Fodor as Phoenix Jones.
File photo of Benjamin Fodor as Phoenix Jones.
Image: AP Photo/Ted S. Warren/PA file

A SELF-STYLED superhero arrested in Seattle earlier this year after allegedly breaking up a street fight using pepper spray will not now be charged with misdemeanor assault.

Benjamin Fodor, who calls his ‘superhero’ alter-ego Phoenix Jones, was arrested on the morning of 9 October after reportedly using the spray on four people involved in an altercation.

After that arrest, Jones told the media that as well as being a father and a brother, he tries to stop crime in his neighbourhood “and everywhere else”.

In a statement today, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said that “proof problems” were behind the decision not to press charges against Fodor.

“However, Mr Fodor is no hero, just a deeply misguided individual,” Homes said.

“He has been warned that his actions put himself in danger, and this latest episode demonstrates that innocent bystanders can also be harmed.”

Although two of the four other people involved in the incident have been identified and interviewed by police, efforts to name and locate the other two have failed. According to Seattle authorities, the investigation was further complicated by Fodor’s assertion that he was trying to help some of those involved in the fight.

Documentary maker Ryan McNamee said he was filming Jones’ actions for a number of months before capturing footage of the incident which led to his arrest:

(Video uploaded by AssociatedPress)

Holme’s office today said: “State law allows a person to use force when coming to the aid of someone that he or she reasonably believes is about to be injured. The force used may not be more than necessary to affect the lawful intended purpose.”

The city attorney said that he thought it unlikely a jury would decide beyond reasonable doubt that Fodor intentionally sprayed all of the people who were at the scene.

Holmes added that he advises Fodor to seek legal advice on countering civil lawsuits if he decides to persist “with his vigilante alter ego”.

“Our state’s Good Samaritan statutes are designed to protect individuals who happen upon—rather than actively seek out—opportunities to render assistance to others, without expectation of compensation. These laws are not designed to protect a branded, costumed character, his roving video crew, or their copyrighted videos from the reach of tort plaintiffs.”

Fodor has already been advised to contact the police when he sees potentially illegal activity rather than attempt to tackle the situation himself.

Photos, video: Seattle ‘Superhero’ Phoenix Jones in court >

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