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Seattle superhero walks free, vows to continue fighting crime

By Patrick Oppmann, CNN
updated 8:25 PM EDT, Thu October 13, 2011
Phoenix Jones, whose real name is Ben Fodor, unmasked himself after prosecutors declined to press assault charges.
Phoenix Jones, whose real name is Ben Fodor, unmasked himself after prosecutors declined to press assault charges.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Superhero Phoenix Jones is revealed to be the alter ego of Ben Fodor
  • He appears in court, but is told no charges have been filed against him
  • Charges may be filed later, the city attorney's office says

Seattle (CNN) -- Self-styled superhero Phoenix Jones unmasked himself before cameras Thursday and vowed to keep fighting crime after prosecutors delayed a decision on whether to press assault charges against him.

Jones -- who told reporters his real name is Ben Fodor -- routinely patrols downtown Seattle streets decked out in a rubber suit and mask. He was arrested early Sunday on four counts of assault after police said he used pepper spray on a group of people leaving a nightclub. A spokesman for Fodor said he was trying to break up a fight.

Video shot by a documentary crew and posted on Phoenix Jones' Facebook page showed a chaotic scene, with the self-styled super hero being chased by a purse-wielding woman and then shooting what appeared to be pepper spray at a group of people. Fodor was the only person arrested in the incident.

Seattle Police said Fodor overreacted, and asserted that the city is not in need of vigilante crime fighters.

Seattle superhero arrested for assault

"If you see something that warrants calling 911, call 911. You don't need to dress up in a costume to do that," police spokesman Mark Jamieson said.

In court Thursday, Fodor appeared wearing a hood, which a judge's assistant asked him to remove. Told charges had not been filed against him, Fodor put the rubber hood back on and left the court with a swarm of media cameras following him.

Outside the courthouse, Fodor told reporters he would continue his anti-crime patrols and then removed his hood.

"In addition to being Phoenix Jones," he said. "I am also Ben Fodor, a father and brother. I am just like everybody else. The only difference is that I try to stop crime."

Fodor also said he would invite the public to accompany him on future patrols. He then walked off without taking any questions from reporters.

An Internet search showed Fodor has competed in mixed martial arts events, with a record of 11 wins and no losses.

Kimberly Mills, a spokeswoman for the city attorney's office, said prosecutors will decide whether to file charges against him after they finish interviewing witnesses and complete the investigation into the incident Sunday.

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