Seattle superhero Phoenix Jones knocked a man out during a fight on University Way Northeast early Friday morning. More surprising, Seattle police and witnesses looked on. Nobody stopped the fight, and nobody went to jail.
Jones, whose real name is Ben Fodor, said he and a group of other costumed individuals who call themselves the Rain City Superheroes Movement stepped in to stop an assault early Friday morning. Jones said that the fight started after he observed a group of people yelling at an occupied car. Jones said he saw one of the men punch the window and stepped in to stop the man. That’s when Jones said the man redirected his aggression towards Jones and his group.
Jones uploaded a video of the encounter to YouTube earlier today and said he agreed to fight the man in the video only after a person used a racist slur towards him. Shortly after the slur, Jones can be heard telling the man, “Washington is a mutual combat state. If you’d like to agree to fight me, we can do that too if you’d like to.”
Before fists started to fly one of the men in Jones’ group called the police.
In the video, the responding Seattle Police Department (SPD) officer stands in between the men and specifically tells Jones to be “the better person and let them walk away.” At that point the man began to taunt Jones and Jones reiterated that he was willing to fight the man. Shortly after that, the men shook hands and moved to a clearing on the sidewalk and began to fight while a crowd, including at least two SPD officers, looked on.
Jones, who is also a professional mixed martial artist, appeared to have had the upper hand during the entire 45-second fight. Jones landed multiple kicks to the man’s body, and ultimately a punch to the head that toppled him.
One of the men in the video can be seen removing his shirt and yelling at Jones that the other fighter had “called quits” before the knockout blow had been thrown, prompting him to yell obscenities at Jones, including racist slurs. At that point police stepped in and told the group to separate.
Seattle Police spokesman Det. Jeff Kappel said, while mutual combat is technically legal in Washington State, fighting in public is never advised. Kappel said although the men may have agreed to fight, they should have heeded the advice of the responding officers and went their separate ways.
Kappel said, in general, if an officer believes that a fight could cause injury to bystanders or damage property, the fighters could be ordered to stop and cited for violating city code. If fighters ignored such an order to stop, they could also face obstruction charges. He said he could not comment on whether or not the responding officers believed that to be the case in this fight.
Kappel couldn’t comment about why Jones and the other man were allowed to fight and weren't cited except to say that it was a decision made by the responding officers and that a report wasn’t written and there was no request for charges.
“I don’t want you to get the impression that everything that took place there is just A-OK,” Kappel said. “Officers have a lot of discretion on how they choose to handle any particular incident. This one will be reviewed by the chain of command to see if it was handled as best it could, or as appropriately as it could.”
Reach reporter Jimmy Lovaas at firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @jimmylovaas
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