Friday, December 30, 2011

HERO PROFILE #84: Beijing Bauhinia



AKA: Bauhinia Heroine aka Hong Kong Flower

Operates out of: Beijing, China

Group affiliation: None

Activities: Homeless outreach

Namesake: The bauhinia is the flower of Hong Kong, which Beijing Bauhinia gives out as a calling card.

Inspiration: The 1965 Hong Kong film Black Rose.

Quote: "Although I haven't solved the problem, at least I've caught the attention of citizens and government officials. That was my goal, and besides it's done more than some of the all-talking-no-action government officials."

Author's notes: A mysterious masked woman who aids the poor in Beijing has become a legend in China with 20,000 online followers and it looks like a possible Hong Kong movie version of her life is being produced. I'll be looking into this story further, but meanwhile check out more photos and articles on the Beijing Bauhinia here:
www.chariweb.com/2011/12/beijing-bauhinia-babe-hongkong-bauhinia.html
And here:
www.21cb.net/bauhinia-heroine-hong-kong/

Monday, December 26, 2011

HEROES IN THE NIGHT in the NEW YORK TIMES


The Black Monday Society-- photo by Jim Wilson- The New York Times

Heroes in the Night was supposed to be on holiday hiatus, but an exciting day of news bumps- somewhat unexpected- has led me to post an update on today's news.

Top of the list is a front page story in today's New York Times, which features a quote from Heroes in the Night author Tea Krulos. The story is titled "Crusaders Take Page, and Outfits, From Comics," by Kirk Johnson. Follow the link on the title, the website also has a video that accompanies the article.

The article mostly focuses on a Salt Lake City team called the Black Monday Society. I did meet one of the BMS members- Professor Midnight- at the HOPE 2011 event in San Diego. I've also written about the current BMS leader, Red Voltage (including a lengthy entry on the BMS change of leadership HERE)

I had a phone interview with Kirk Johnson and we talked about a great many things, including "early prototypes" of the RLSH. One of the early prototypes I cited was Terrifica (see an interview I did with her HERE), and that is what he ran with.

The Times article led to me getting an offer to appear on a news radio show on KCBS in San Francisco, so I did a brief 5 minutes or so with them, answering a few typical questions. I also did an e-mail Q and A with la Repubblica, an Italian newspaper, for an upcoming edition.

Hey, I'll take it!

This blog will return in its usual format the first week of 2012...Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A CHALLENGERS CHRISTMAS


The Challengers outside of Fuel. Photo by Lacy Landre- Third Coast Digest.

The Challengers volunteered for a couple of holiday missions over the last few weeks. Their annual toy drive took place again this year outside of the Fuel Cafe here in Milwaukee (right in my neighborhood, Riverwest)where they took donations of toys and art supplies to be divvied up between two charities, the Gingerbread House and the Meta House.

The Gingerbread House is in nearby Washington County and provides toys to low income families who can't afford to buy gifts.

The Meta House is right down the street from me in Riverwest and is a rehab program for women and their families. They are always in need of art supplies for their art therapy programs.

Challengers The Watchman, Crimson Crusader, Night Vision, and Blackbird as well as Watchman heirs apparent Wonder Boy and Guardian Girl were on hand to collect donations. Things were slower this year compared to last year. We were not able to get the media placement like we did last season and--I don't know--times are hard.

Still, we did get some donations and these were delivered to Gingerbread House by The Watchman and to the Meta House by Blackbird and myself.
Photobucket
The Challengers helping out the Veterans for Peace. Photo by Gary Porter, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel.

Something interesting that came out of the event was meeting a man named Terry who works with a group called Veterans for Peace. He was very interested in what the guys were doing and invited them to an event Monday night.

The event, at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, was a sort of unloading party. Fifty volunteers, including firefighters, veterans, and others unloaded and stacked a donation of 350 cases of food for the Veterans for Peace Food Pantry. Blackbird, Crimson Crusader, and Night Vision joined the human assembly line to help stock the food. The 484th Army Band played Christmas carols as the volunteers worked. The RLSH had a good reception and already are talking with Terry about more ways they can work with Veterans for Peace.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS
No matter what you celebrate (even if it is the maniacal Real Life Supervillain holiday Ubermas) I wish you all a happy holiday season. I will have a short holiday hiatus myself, but expect a new blog post the first week of January.

LINKS

GINGERBREAD HOUSE: www.volunteernow.net/vc_no_menu_gingerbread.shtml
META HOUSE: www.metahouse.org
VETERANS FOR PEACE: www.milwaukeevfp.org

Friday, December 16, 2011

HERO PROFILE #83: Night Vision


Photo by Lacy Landre
Operates out of: Milwaukee, WI

Team affiliation: The Challengers

Activities: Night patrols, charity events

Author's notes: Night Vision is a local RLSH I've met up with a couple times now, once on patrol and once at a Christmas charity event last week. He got inspired to get involved after he found out that his friend was none other than the mysterious Milwaukee RLSH known as Blackbird.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

THE RAY: SF Weekly Cover Story


SAN FRANCISCO NEWSPAPER PORTRAYS BAY AREA RLSH AS NAIVE, RACIST

Heroes of the Night, of course, is the source that broke the story of the arrest of The Ray, a young member of the Pacific Protectorate who was arrested at an Occupy Oakland protest in early November. I got the info from a call from Pacific Protectorate leader Motor-Mouth the day after the arrest and updated with news over the following week.

Now a cover story for the SF Weekly has reported not only on the sensational aspects of the arrest of The Ray but has also featured a number of embarrassing quotes from him on the topic of race and crime. The portrayal by writer Lauren Smiley offers The Ray as either (at best) a naive person with an immature view of race and society or (at worst) a racist in a dangerous situation.

I have not had very much communication with The Ray, just a couple very brief e-mails. I am sure he doesn't view himself as a racist, but that doesn't take the quote-marks off of those quotes. I've read (via online speculation of course) that this writer had it out for The Ray- she wanted to shoot and tag him from the get go.

I highly doubt it. It is entirely possible she started the story with best intentions but changed the tune when The Ray started saying "colored" this and "stereotype" that. If someone says stuff like that, it is pretty hard to ignore and reporting it is part of her job.

My only complaint, really, is that there is too much personal information divulged- The Ray's real name, the names of his parents, his dad's business, where they live, where he works- there is no appreciation to privacy to a subject who has brought you in and given you a good story. If someone reads this wants to find The Ray to prove something they now have got a huge lead.

If I were you, Ray, I would lay low.

You can read the article here:
www.sfweekly.com/2011-12-14/news/real-life-superheroes-the-ray-antioch-occupy-oakland-police-crime/

And I would like to hear what you think in the comments section.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

HERO PROFILE #81-82: The Thylacine and Flying Fox


Operates out of: Melbourne, Australia

Team affiliation: The Fauna Fighters

Activities: Animal rights activism

Quote: "We're just everyday people, no better than anyone else, with a love of animals, the environment, a desire to better our community and a flair for the theatrical."

Website: www.faunafighters.com.au

Author's notes: The Fauna Fighters caught my eye because of their wonderfully unique and Australian personas. The Thylacine, also known as the Tasmanian tiger (actually a marsupial), was declared extinct in the 1930s. Many sightings, however, add to the legend that the species still exists in small numbers deep in the forests of Tasmania. The flying fox family, the genus pteropus, consists of the largest bats in the world. Several flying fox species that call Australia home are on the endangered species list.

The Fauna Fighters do not call themselves "Real Life Super Heroes" but say that the concept was an inspiration to them. They have called themselves "eco-vigilantes," "costumed activists" and "Watchmen of the Animal Kingdom." Their goal is to help find lost pets, collect supplies for animal shelters, raise awareness of animal habitats and "fighting the disgraceful practice of puppy farming and animal testing."

For example, in the video posted below, the duo speaks out against impulse buying of pets over the holidays.

Monday, December 5, 2011

THE CHALLENGERS CHRISTMAS CHARITY DRIVE


Editor's note- I'm continuing my own annual tradition of helping my local RLSHs by writing a press release for their holiday charity mission.
This year they are again collecting toys and art supplies for two great charities- The Gingerbread House in Washington County and the Meta House right here in my neighborhood, Riverwest. Press release follows.


The term “Real Life Super Heroes” (or RLSH) describes an international movement or subculture of people who adopt their own costumed personas and head out to try to make their communities a better place. For some this is charity or humanitarian efforts. Others use the concept as a platform for activism. And some choose to actively crime fight.

Milwaukee has its own team of RLSH- The Challengers. Much of the team growth has occurred over the last year. The founding member is The Watchman, who operated as Milwaukee's sole superhero for a few years, but is now joined by his team- Blackbird, Crimson Crusader, Charade, Night Vision, and Electron (of Madison).

The team has done charity events, handed out supplies to the homeless, and done a crime watching program similar to a neighborhood block watch (although in superhero gear).

This year, the team is continuing The Watchman's annual tradition of collecting toys and art supplies for a couple of charities- The Gingerbread House, of Washington County, provides toys to low income families. Meta House is a rehab program for mothers and their children located in Riverwest. In addition to toys, Meta House has cited a need for art supplies for their art rehab programs.

On Saturday, December 10, The Challengers will be in person in front of the Fuel Café (818 E. Center Street) from 10AM-3PM collecting donations. They are looking for (new) toys, art supplies, board games, or cash (which will be used to buy additional supplies). Donations will be delivered in person to the two charities the following week.

They aren't saving the world from killer aliens or battling escaped supervillains from Arkham Asylum, but here is an opportunity to meet some superheroes and help out some local charities.

At a glance:
WHAT: The Challenger’s charity toy drive
WHEN: Saturday, December 10, 10AM-4PM
WHERE: Fuel Café, 818 E. Center Street
Milwaukee's team of “Real Life Super Heroes,” The Challengers, is working to collect toys, art supplies, and money for two charities- the Gingerbread House in West Bend and the Meta House in Riverwest.

For more information or to set up an interview with the The Challengers, contact:
Contact: Tea Krulos
teakrulos@gmail.com

Thursday, December 1, 2011

HERO PROFILE #80: Arctic Knight


Operates out of: Minneapolis, MN

Group affiliation: Great Lakes Alliance

Activities
: Patrols, charity events

Favorite quote: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

Author's notes: I met Arctic Knight on a trip to Minneapolis over the weekend and saw Razorhawk and Geist again- I've met those guys several times in the past. I didn't get to talk much, but was amazed to find that the Arctic Knight was taller than me (I'm 6'5!)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

THE BIRMINGHAM BATMAN



ANOTHER RLSH "EARLY PROTOTYPE" DISCOVERED--ALABAMA SUPERHERO'S PASSION ALSO CAUSED HIS DEATH

Superhero is a Real Life Super Hero from Clearwater, Florida, who first adopted his gimmick as a wrestler. He patrols the streets in a smoking red Supermobile and (among other activities) offers roadside assistance to those in need. His superhero inspiration is not Kick-Ass or The Dark Knight but rather the 1960s Batman show starring Adam West.

While searching the internet for customized Batmobiles, Superhero stumbled across a discovery- a man operating in the 1970s and 80s in Birmingham, Alabama known as the Birmingham Batman.

"Just literally was looking for Corvettes converted into Batmobiles to add pictures to my 'Bat-Vettes' album." Superhero says. "It's a fairly common thing, probably because it's a two seat car. And one site had a picture of the "Bat-Rescue Ship" which belonged to Birmingham (and killed him) which got me looking deeper."

Superhero had in fact found a doppelganger of sorts- a man who was also inspired by the Adam West Batman, had a custom made hotrod and offered people roadside assistance.
Photobucket
The Bat Rescue Ship on display.

APPEARANCE/ MODUS OPERANDI

Despite the name, it would appear that the Birmingham Batman's costume and car did not very much resemble the famed DC Comics star. Writer Lou Anders recalls meeting the Batman as a child in a 2006 entry on his blog, Bowing to the Future:

"Batman was an African-American. He didn't wear black or blue tights but instead a sort of jump-suit that was white with brown trim. He had a brown motorcycle helmet that said "Batman" on it. He did have the right shape cape, although it was brown... admittedly, he looked a good deal more like Evil Knievel than the Darknight Detective. And even as a kid, I wondered why he had latched onto the name "Batman" and not picked something more original or at least more appropriate. I think it had to do with his car, and with the fact that Batman was the only superhero so strongly identified with his wheels.

The Birmingham Batman drove a suped-up corvette (note: a 1971 Ford Thunderbird), white with brown trim just like his costume, and covered in reflective decals. It had funky flashy lights, fins, and a half dozen different types of radio aerials. There was no such thing as GPS back then, but the car had CBs and police-ban radios, and some sort of bulky telephone. I remember a rocket launcher too, but that's probably just the embellishment of my childhood imagination."


A Birminham wiki entry and other sources say Batman's name was Willie James Perry, who worked as a manager at a window distributor company.

The entry offers this as his superhero mission:

"In addition to carrying gas, jumper cables and tools to help people whose cars had broken down, Perry gave free rides to people who had too much to drink, took elderly people to doctor's appointments and drove kids around to McDonald's or as entertainment for birthday parties."
Photobucket
Front end of the Bat Rescue Ship

BRUSHES WITH FAME

The Birmingham Batman made a TV appearance on the show That's Incredible! in 1982.

His car also attracted a famous star- a young Michael Jackson. In a blog entry, writer Ed Reynolds recalls:

"When the Jacksons were in town years ago rehearsing for a tour, Michael Jackson ordered his limo driver to pull over so the singer could examine the Batmobile."

Reynolds also fondly recalls Birmingham giving him a lift- to his own wedding.

DEATH AND LEGACY

The car that had become so important to his life also was the cause of death. In 1985 the Batman was working on his car when his garage door slid shut and he died of carbon monoxide poisoning. He was 44 years old. The City of Birmingham bought his car and displayed it for years at the Southern Museum of Flight and later State Fair Park.

In 2009, the Birmingham City Council voted to keep and restore the car and find a place to display it. It is unclear to me where the car ended up but it was either the refurbished State Fair grounds or the Old Car Museum.

Another RLSH inspired by the story who did some online sleuthing was San Diego's Urban Avenger of the Xtreme Justice League. I asked him what had grabbed his attention about the story.

"Just his completely selflessness," Urban Avenger replied. "The dude took no credit for what he did. He never sought attention. Everything that was written about him was mostly posthumous. And it was his sheer awesomeness that made him legendary. He was the definition of a true superhero. I think more people should aspire to be what this guy embodied. I don't know how he did it or what his day job was to be able to afford the things he had and did for people, but he did it, and without taking anything in return."

Comments sections of articles on the Birmingham Batman indicate he is still remembered fondly after all these years. Someone even paid small tribute to him in 2009 with a MySpace page that linked to Birmingham crime maps.
Photobucket


SOURCES

- "The Batman of Birmingham," Feb.18, 2006, Lou Anders, louanders.blogspot.com
-Willie James Perry- BHAM Wiki entry
- "Runaway Bridegroom," June 30, 2005, James Reynolds, Black & White
- "Birmingham's "Batmobile" will be kept, restored and displayed by city," March 31, 2009, Jeff Hansen, Birmingham News
-"I Remeber the Night Batman Died," 2009, G.W. Brown, Herald-Citizen
-Online interviews with Superhero and Urban Avenger
-"A New Batman for Birmingham," Jan.27, 2009, Birmingham Terminal

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

PHOENIX JONES and Co. NAB STABBER

Just days after having charges dropped (but also being reprimanded by Seattle's City Attorney) Seattle superhero Phoenix Jones was back on the street with his Rain City Superheroes Movement team mates El Caballero, Ghost, Midnight Jack, Pitch Black, Mantis (sometimes also spelled as Mantissss), and cameraman Ryan McNamee.

McNamee captures some exciting footage of the group, who encounters someone who has just been stabbed. The superheroes then chase the suspected stabber for 8 blocks, eventually trapping him in a taxi as he tries to escape. Police arrive on the scene very quickly, draw their weapons and arrest the man.

Some of the group runs back to see if they can help the stabbing victim, who is soon on his way to the hospital while the suspect is taken to jail.

You can see the video below.

Monday, November 28, 2011

HEROES in the NIGHT Author Tea Krulos at Film Society of Minneapolis Event



On Saturday night I was a guest at a showing of the Real Life Super Hero documentary "Superheroes," directed by Michael Barnett. The screening was presented by the Film Society of Minneapolis at the St. Anthony Main Theatre.

Also in attendance- Minnesota Real Life Super Heroes (and members of the Great Lakes Alliance) Geist, Razorhawk, and Arctic Knight.

Attendance was kind of small- about 25 people. It was suggested we would be doing a Q and A after the film. We didn't spot anyone to facilitate this, so I jumped up and said- "hey, we got some Real Life Super Heroes in the audience, if you want to ask them questions!" We went down to the front of the theater. No one had questions immediately, so I threw out a couple for the guys to answer. People seemed to warm up to the idea then, and we got asked several questions about the RLSHs inspiration and goals.

After that, I headed out to catch up with my friend and the guys headed ventured into the freezing Minneapolis night to make a donation of some canned food at a local charity and patrol.

It was what it was- I'm glad I went, it was nice to get out of town for a weekend trip.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

NO CHARGES FOR PHOENIX JONES


...BUT SEATTLE CITY ATTORNEY ISN'T EXACTLY A FAN
Charges were dropped against Phoenix Jones in what is widely known as "the pepper spray incident." I witnessed this incident myself during a trip to Seattle last month.

Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes cited a couple of reasons for this- only two out of four alleged victims spoke to investigators. The other two fled the scene. My guess- didn't really want to talk to police for reasons of their own. The City Attorney also said that an individual is allowed to use force when coming to the aid of another person, and this law casts reasonable doubt on the assault charges.

However, Holmes also made it a clear point that he did not approve of Phoenix Jones.

KOMO News quotes Holmes as saying:

"Mr. Fodor is no hero, just a deeply misguided individual. He has been warned that his actions put himself in danger, and this latest episode demonstrates that innocent bystanders can also be harmed."

Thursday, November 17, 2011

HERO PROFILE #79: The Reverend


Operates out of: Salem, Oregon

Team Affiliation: Cherry City Citizen Crusaders (C-4)

Equipment: Cell phone, flashlights, digital video camera, first aid kit, and Bibles.

Activities: Handouts, saftey patrols, and chairty events.

Quote: "Religion is for people who are afraid of hell. Spirituality is for people who have been there and don't wanna go back."

Author's notes: The Reverend tells me his most recent patrols have been with the Salem branch of the Xtreme Justice League and he heads into Portland once a month to patrol with Icarus, the Anti-Man, and other locals. Hero profiles will now be back every Thursday!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hero Profiles Return!....And Other News


The weekly Thursday Hero Profile has long been a staple of this blog and has been on hiatus a couple months for a variety of reasons. This Thursday the feature will return and I now have a back log of several months worth of profiles, including ones to roll out on people I met in Portland and Seattle.

XJL WINS AWARD

Members of the Xtreme Justice League were invited to be guest speakers at Riverside Community College in San Diego on November 10. The group was presented an award as honorary speakers (pictured above). Other recent activities XJL members have participated in include a charity walk, a panel discussion after the screening of the documentary Superheroes, and foot patrols.

PHOENIX CAM CAPTURES RCSM BREAKING UP FIGHT


A new video shot by Ryan MacNamee shows Phoenix Jones, Mantis, Pitch Black, Ghost, and Purple Reign intervening in a fight in Seattle. The group broke up the fight, chased a suspect and then waited for police to arrive on the scene.

:

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Occupy Oakland Bails The Ray


The Ray at Occupy Oakland.

The last few days I've followed the story of The Ray, a RLSH and member of the Pacific Protectorate who was arrested at an Occupy Oakland protest.

The latest word- The Ray has been released on bail provided by the Occupy Wall Street legal support fund.

The Ray's parents along with his team leader, Motor-Mouth, were interviewed on the Flashpoints radio show on KPFA in Berkeley yesterday.

On the show, Mr. and Mrs. Ray maintain that nothing like this has ever happened to their 22 year old son, who they describe as a former boy scout, a college student,a "champion for the underdog" and a "peacemaker."

They said an attorney who spoke to The Ray in jail found him to be "frightened, had black eyes, and stitches on his face."

Occupy Wall Street has sent money to Oakland Occupy, whose General Assembly decided to allocate the funds to pay for the bail of The Ray and one other protestor.

The Ray was released late last night/ early this morning.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Update on The Ray


The Ray, left, and Motor-Mouth.

The last couple of blog entries have been about the arrest of The Ray, a RLSH who was arrested at the Occupy Oakland protests. The Ray had a court date yesterday and I asked Motor-Mouth to give an update on the case. Motor-Mouth is team leader of the Pacific Protectorate (a team roughly 7 members strong that includes The Ray)and he attended the hearing.

Here is Motor-Mouth's account:

Update on The Ray's case: The original charges were dropped (in part due to no PD officers coming forward, go figure) but he was charged with something along the lines of "Failure To Comply With An Executive Officer". What has surfaced, though, is that The Ray jumped in-between a riot cop & a protester being senselessly beat. At the moment, police attacked him & he defended himself but was shot in the face with an unknown projectile, fell unconscious and was continuously beaten. He awoke handcuffed, in a daze, & bloody.

He was taken to an Oakland area hospital and had his face stitched up, of which his attorney said he received 3 or 4 stitches. He was then taken to Oakland City Jail & transferred out to Santa Rita County Jail the following day.

He is going back to court on Thursday but here is how YOU can help: His bail is posted at $15,000 but he only needs $1,500 to get out. Myself & his family are by far too strapped financially to get him out but if everyone chips in, maybe we can gather enough cash to get him out.

Also, if you or anyone you know were present the night of the violence in Oakland after the General Strike when the police squads attacked, then please contribute any video or pictures you might have that may feature The Ray in them (the guy who looks like a ninja with the Captain America shield that got beat to a pulp by the riot squads).

Saturday, November 5, 2011

CAI Responds to Arrest of The Ray


A scene from Occupy Oakland, captured by the San Francisco Examiner.

In a blog entry yesterday, I reported news out of Oakland that a RLSH named The Ray was arrested at the Occupy Oakland protests. The Ray is a member of the Pacific Protectorate (North Cali Division) and the news was reported via phone by The Ray's team leader, Motor-Mouth. Motor-Mouth says the Protectorate has been doing security at the protests. Another Bay Area team, the California Initiative, has also been monitoring the protests and posted this statement on the arrest of The Ray:

The CAI (California Initiative) was mentioned in Tea Krulos' recent Heroes in the Night blog entry.

We do NOT endorse the use of body armor, shields, masks or anything other than everyday street clothing while providing support at Occupy.

The CAI has spoken with heads of security at Occupy Oakland (OO), and they do not, nor have they ever asked any RLSH (or anyone, for that matter) to "gear up" for security. Further, they do not advise anyone to label themselves as "security."

We echo Occupy Oakland's stance: We don't advise anyone to come between the police and protestors that are being arrested. We are peacekeeping and do our best to teach de-escalation tactics. We believe in non-violence, especially where police are involved. We are there to provide first-aid and a helping hand in the camps.

There are other groups in northern California that will be attending Occupy Oakland and SF, as well. The viewpoints of these group do not reflect those of the California Initiative or those of the Occupy movement as a whole.

We wish The Ray a speedy recovery and are sending him our best.


In addition, CAI founding member Rock N Roll offered this advice for RLSH (or X-ALTs, an alternate term) attending Occupy protests (and I would guess particularly ones where tensions have escalated like in Oakland):

Let me preface this by saying that I give the majority of you the benefit of the doubt; that I believe your hearts are in the right places and that you aspire to make the world a better place.

It's with this in mind that I implore you - If you are heading out to your local Occupy, remember these things:

Masks (other than vinegar-soaked bandanas) are foolish. You are making yourself a target for the police. If you're that worried about people finding out your identity, wear a bandana. If you need protection, wear a bike helmet. There are thousands of other people out there who aren't drawing attention to themselves or protecting their heads, yet they've endured weeks of living there.

If you bring any type of apparatus that looks like you're preparing for a battle, the police will give you one.

If you think you can insinuate yourself between the protestors and the police, you'll most likely wake up in the hospital or in jail. Your greatest tool is a voice of reason, a cool, clear head, and a recording device.

If you are there for any reason other than to support the movement by providing assistance to the injured, or helping de-escalate any in-camp altercations, you're in this for the wrong reason.

The best you can do for the Occupy movement is to supply food, water, an extra set of hands, eyes and a calming presence in the face of possible violence.

If you're there because you need more press, or recognition, or you're itching to take someone down, for f's sake, go as yourself and DO NOT go as a representative of this community. This is not about you.

Friday, November 4, 2011

THE RAY: ARRESTED


The Ray, posing for an action shot.

Breaking News: Pacific Protectorate Member Hauled in at Occupy Oakland Protest

On my way to my day (or night is a better description) job, I noticed I had received a call from Motor-Mouth, marked "urgent." Motor-Mouth leads one of two groups of RLSH/ X-ALTS in the California Bay Area. His group is the Pacific Protectorate, North-Cal division. There is also a team called the California Initiative- a team that also includes branches in Virginia and the team's origin point in New York.

Both groups have made an effort to do security detail with the Occupy protests in the area. The Occupy Oakland protests in particular have turned very ugly as protestors have clashed with heavy handed police over the last week. Police fired tear gas, rubber bullets and flash grenades into the crowd.

Motor-Mouth called to tell me that his team mate, The Ray, had been out in the middle of it during protests Wednesday night. He says he received a text from Ray, saying he was at the protests, but was probably heading home after another walk around to check out the scene.

The next morning, Motor-Mouth received a call from family members of The Ray, saying he had not yet returned home. Later in the morning, Motor-Mouth says he watched a news report where police displayed weapons confiscated in the arrests. Among the items- a customized shield, similar in design to the one made famous by Captain America, which Motor-Mouth had lent to The Ray for his patrol.

Later, in a follow up message to me, Motor-Mouth says he confirmed with police that they had indeed nabbed The Ray, charging him with "assault" and "failure to disperse." He is being held at Oakland City Jail, but will be transferred today, and will be arraigned on Monday. Meanwhile, Motor-Mouth says the rest of Pacific Protectorate will be out in force doing security at the Occupy Oakland site this weekend.

Further developments will be posted here.

In other news:

PHOENIX JONES LOSES JOB


Phoenix Jones' day job was caring for autistic children. The Department of Social and Health Services sent a letter informing him that he was not allowed to work with children due to the pending status of “the incident." The incident I'm referring to is one I witnessed in person in Seattle- Phoenix Jones saw a group of people fighting and intervened by pepper spraying members of the group. He was taken in under charges of assault, although charges have not been filed at this point.

Jones says he will do more day time patrols in addition to looking for a job.

MDA BENEFIT

Los Angeles based RLSHs Sage and The Handler are also going up the river, but in their case it is a "bail me out" style charity fund raiser. Their goal is to reach $800 dollars to benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and they are a little over half way there as of this posting. Check out their donation page:
www.joinmda.org/burbank2011/MyLockup/MyHomepage/tabid/249317/Participant/sage/bfimp/true/Default.aspx

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Phoenix Jones: The Space Needle Interview


Everything you need to conduct a good interview- a notepad and pen, digital camera, digital voice recorder, a cup of coffee and...a collapsible baton? At a cafe with Purple Reign and Phoenix Jones after the Space Needle interview. Photo by Lucien Knuteson.
---

The scene: October 8, a little past 8PM. Phoenix Jones has suggested we meet up at Seattle's famous Space Needle, then head to have a crime report meeting with his wife and team mate, Purple Reign, at a cafe. From there we headed out on the eventful patrol everyone has heard about.

It was cool with a light drizzle of rain. A busker wailed away on the saxophone. I had made contact with local photographer Lucien Knuteson. He told me he was on his way to the Space Needle, and while we waited I decided to record an interview.

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I snapped this shot of the Space Needle moments before meeting up with Phoenix Jones.

Tea Krulos: The team- where would you like to see it go from here?

Phoenix Jones
: You know I really want to solidify one whole city. Like I think we’ve done parts- we made a big step in Bell Town, a big step in Pioneer Square but I would like there to be a more open line of communication between me and the police and a more direct response between me and the people.

I want it to be more like- you know, call the police and send a text message to Phoenix Jones and I want to have enough guys to send them here and there. Basically my own superhero-esqe police force. I think that would be pretty cool. But one that does it for free, obviously. And doesn’t write tickets.

(We encounter a High School homecoming football game near the Space Needle and stand on a hill behind the fence, taking it in. As we walk away, our dialog is inaudible but Jones mentions he was high school football team captain.)


TK: So you were captain of the football team?


PJ: I was, yeah.

TK: I know you get this a lot- people say you’re going to get stabbed, you’re going to get shot, you’re going to get killed- how do you respond to that?

(We encounter a small group of young high school guys, wide eyed at seeing Phoenix.)


Dude #1: Hey! Are you the Rain City…

PJ: I am, I’m Phoenix Jones.

Dude #2: I was watching your YouTube videos the other day.

PJ: My personal videos are on Phoenix-Cam.

Dude #2: Phoenix-Cam?

PJ: Yeah, it shows videos of us taking down drug dealers and stuff like that so check it out.

Dude #2: Alright, man.

PJ: You guys be good! Sorry about that. Ok, here’s the thing- so what makes a superhero a superhero is that they face adversity and they overcome it. If you are not facing adversity, you are not a hero. If you’re not in the line of fire, you are not a hero. When people got scared and said 'oh my god, he’s going to die' what they really said is- 'he’s stepping up, putting himself between danger and safety' and that is what I would expect everyone to do.

And could I get stabbed? Yes, happened. Could I get shot? Yes, it’s happened. Could I get hit with a baseball bat? Yes, it’s happened. Can I get my nose broken? Yes, it’s happened. But ideas are bulletproof. If they get me, they got to get the idea. And I think I’m at like reaching 2 million people- so they got to get an idea out of 2 million people’s heads and I’m not even halfway done yet.

TK: Is there ever an event or turning point that would make you stop?


PJ: Well... obviously if they get me, right that is going to make me stop ipso facto. I guess as long as there is a separation between my family and this, I’m not going to stop. I think if someone brought my family into it, it would make things more complicated for sure. That is when I would have to really weigh the costs.

But I think at that point I would have already made my choice because if they are coming after my family it is not going to stop because I hang up the cape or hang up the cowl. because I have already set an idea.

It is like the scene in Batman when they talk to the Joker and he is like ‘you’ve changed things. We can’t go back to the way it was.' I feel if they are coming after my family, I’ve already changed things. And at that point quitting isn’t going to help- we got to move and I got to make a long commute.

TK: How would you describe your experiences with the media?


PJ: They went in waves. The first wave was 90% negative and kinda twisted what I said. It wasn’t helpful to me, it was a hindrance, it was terrible. The middle wave was the curiosity of- is this guy for real? And for the most part I think the ‘for real’ part was answered and now I am in the last one and that is understanding. And I’m having the most fun with this one- where people have gotten over the fact that I’m out there. They’ve gotten over the fact that I really do interject in crime. Now it’s come down to- why?

And I think this is a lot more entertaining and a lot more interesting and a lot more – I feel helpful- for the people to understand why instead of trying to find out if it is truth or a publicity stunt.

TK: What advice would you give- like there were those young guys back at the football game who were interested in you and what you do- what advice do you give to people who are inspired by you and want to do what you do?


PJ: Well, there are two things. The first thing is that there are two types of heroes- the type of hero that responds to a need, a calling where they live or they respond to a threat and out of that threat they arise to be heroes. Then there are the calculated heroes who have taken the time to train and then put themselves in the line of fire to prove they are heroes. You want to be the latter. You want to be trained if you are responding to a threat or a purpose. Don’t wake up one day and dress in spandex and walk down the street and fight crime. It is not going to end well.

Dude walking by
: Hey, nice suit, man!

PJ
: Thank you, guys!
The second thing I tell them is that the hero and the coward are mostly the same, the difference is the coward doesn’t do something and the hero responds to his training. If you see a situation and you don’t do anything you are defined by the actions of not doing anything If you see a situation and you do something, you are defined by your actions of doing something, but none of those definitions are ever going to line up with what you think. No matter how brave you are and how much crime you fight and stop bad things from happening people are going to judge you and you have to be ready for that and willing to take that, no matter how noble your choice is. This isn’t a road to become famous. 90% of the superheroes who are really doing work, no one will ever hear about.

TK: Being out with you, I’ve seen a lot of people recognize you, give you high fives and stuff like that- how does it feel to have this sort of reception from Seattle?


PJ: It is really funny because it- you know, here’s a good explanation. Remember yesterday when we saw the hot dog vendor who we had helped his cart not get robbed by those guys and he gave us the free VIP passes for hot dogs-

TK: Yeah.

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Here is a photo I took of Jones and his team mate Mist talking to the hot dog vendor he is mentioning.

PJ: That kind of thing is awesome. In the same breath, the people who have had an experience with me, a feeling with me and have an emotion attached with me, that is when it feels good. That is when I feel like- yes!- I have changed the way that guy thinks about me being a superhero. Now when it is just people who have heard about me and think its cool- when something bad shows up on TV they are going to think what that said and when an article comes out, they are going to think what that says.

Right after this article with a bunch of lies was written about me, people were actually spitting on me when I walked by on the streets it took me months of doing what I had been doing before people realized that article wasn’t true.

When someone comes up and says- hey you saved my cousin from this or you saved my bus from getting robbed or you saved my hot dog stand from getting robbed, those always feel great. When someone gives me a high five because they recognize me, it feels good but I take it just at that because I know it is easy to flip and turn.

That is why when people do that, I say 'hey check out my Phoenix-Cam' because there is video of real people having everyday experiences with me and I feel the more they see video and are like 'hey that guy is real and that guy is real and that guy is real' it is going to be harder to change their mind to be negative toward me. You know?

At this point Lucien calls me and we meet up with him and head over to the crime meeting.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Enhanced Video Shows Fight

Yesterday, I posted reactions from RLSH about last week's famous incident with Phoenix Jones. Whatever you may think of his actions an enhanced video that has just been released should prove that what he was running into was indeed a fight- and a pretty heated one at that.

The cropped and magnified video shows you what Jones, myself, RCSM member Ghost, and Ryan McNamee (who shot the video) saw.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

RLSH Community Reacts to Jones Case


Phoenix Jones in court.

For the last week I've been writing about Phoenix Jones, an incident I witnesses and the aftermath. Jones has always been a controversial figure in the RLSH world. Some love him, some hate him and some aren't quite sure what to make. Opinions on last week's incident have varied quite a bit. Some think it is no biggie, others have speculated it is the beginning of the end and could lead to a strong anti-RLSH campaign.

I asked a random group of RLSH to share their opinions of the Jones case based on my testimony of the event (which you can find in an entry from Wednesday.)



DARK GUARDIAN/ RLSH of NYC/ member of the New York Intiative

I believe he acted inappropriately in this instance. He rushed into a situation and reacted with very poor judgement. He maced a group of people who were not attacking him. He was not acting in self defense and the police have rightfully charged him with assault. This is an example of what not to do as a community crime-fighter. It should be a priority to de-escalate situations and work hand in hand with the police to garner the smartest and safest outcome. I stand with the police and want everyone to know he is not a true reflection on what others like myself do in our communities to help.

EON/ RLSH of California


Phoenix Jones was unprepared to deal with the situation and didn't handle it well. I don't think he's a bad person, I don't think he had malicious intent, I don't even think he did anything criminal. To be honest, I even kinda like Phoenix Jones at this point.

He just didn't handle it well... and I'm not talking about morality, I'm talking about skill. It was only a group of rowdy drunks. There's no reason for that to lead to running in around in terror thinking defenseless members of your group are going to get shot and ultimately to being arrested. There are SO many ways to avoid something like that: effective teamwork, a nearby vehicle, standing out of arms reach and issuing a verbal challenge before engaging, etc etc etc.
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Eon

THE WATCHMAN/ RLSH of Milwaukee/ reallifeseuperheroes.org admin/ member of The Challengers

In regards to the recent incident in Seattle leading to the arrest of Phoenix Jones by police, I find it difficult to know just what to say. Much of my opinion must be based on speculation because I was not present and the evidence presented to me is not very clear. It is nearly impossible to determine the facts based on the video alone, and I know firsthand that the media does not always have the facts either, so I must also refer to what I've been told by my trusted friend, Tea Krulos, and try to filter through everything else.

I find this reminiscent of most other stories involving Phoenix Jones. There is a great deal of media coverage and heated internet conversations, and a lot of whispering to one another behind closed doors, but it is far too often based on speculation and biased opinions.

It is impossible for any of us to know with absolute certainty what we would do in any situation until we are in that same situation ourselves. However, I know how I have dealt with other situations in the past, and I do carry pepper spray on my own patrols, and I can tell you that I have not once used pepper spray to break up a fight. The analogy I have used in discussing my belief in the matter is this: trying to stop a crowd of people from fighting by spraying pepper spray on them is like trying to keep a forest from burning by dumping napalm on it.

I think it is great to have people out there trying to keep their communities safe, but they need to use their heads when doing so. Regardless of what was happening that night, Phoenix Jones and his aggressive style clearly seemed to make it worse rather than better. While it was likely a problem that needed immediate attention, I think it was handled poorly. It is important to keep your cool and be level-headed in situations such as these. People need to be cooled down, not have fuel thrown on their fire. Still, a call was made, which is better than to have stood by and done nothing.

I find the actions of the police that night to be even worse. Statements should have been taken from all involved, and evidence should have been viewed. All of the people there should have been treated equally. Instead, it appears that the police only cared about knocking down just one man, Phoenix Jones. As a proud supporter of local law enforcement, I hate to see things like this happen. All too often a few bad cops, or even just a few bad decisions made by cops, make cops look bad. I believe those police officers did a disservice to all police officers. It is reasons like that that so many people hate and fear the police rather than respecting and honoring them.
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The Watchman


SILVER SENTINEL/ RLSH from New York State


Heroes in the Night: Did he do the right thing?

Yes. He clearly saw that there was more than one altercation going on and that several people were involved. At least one person was even knocked to the ground and kicked. There was NO TIME for verbal de-escalation (and I am a huge supporter of de-escalation). He had to break up the combatants immediately before the situation became even more violent- possibly leading to more injuries, or worse.

He did not hose people with the pepper spray, but directed it only at those involved in actually fighting. AND only after calling out warnings for people to break it up. These facts are not disputed by actual eye witnesses, or the video, only by people who were not there and who interpreted the video incorrectly.

Phoenix went out of his way NOT to spray, or engage, those not involved in the actual fighting.. Even to the point he allowed himself to be attacked multiple times. He assessed the situation, took immediate action to break up the violence and prevented further injuries. At no time did he intentionally inflict harm upon anyone not involved that I saw. Some people standing close by caught peripheral spray, but this wasn't harmful, and was a lot less dangerous than if he waded into the fight and started throwing people around on the ground to separate them.

This is going to piss a lot of people off, but in the same situation, I probably would have done the exact same thing.

HITN: What lessons can the RLSH take away from this?

People need to stop pre-judging and armchair quarterbacking. So many people have been waiting for Phoenix to screw up that they howled in delight and mis-interpreted the evidence even when they looked at it in slow motion.

This situation also shows how dangerous what we do is. For some it's not so hairy, but for Phoenix and his team it was a nightmare that could have ended worse. Preparation is key, and having a clear head and calling out directions during the whole thing showed leadership and tactics. People forget that several of Phoenix's team have military backgrounds. They didn't go haywire and bash people which is something that sadly many people in the current community might have done when confronted and attacked.

Mr Jones didn't run in seeking glory. He went in to stop a potentially volatile and violent situation. Nobody who wasn't there knows what might have happened had he not stepped in. And his team backed him up. It wasn't one man, but a TEAM effort, with their leader out in front where he should be.

SKY MAN/ RLSH of Seattle

HITN: If you were in that situation what would you do differently?


Me personally? I dabble in street patrolling and am still studying the, well, for lack of a better word, “proper” ways of going about it. I started out my career as an RLSH focused solely on charity and humanitarian work... I have no previous fighting or self-defense experience. This is why I set up the rule for myself of never patrolling alone. I'm glad PJ doesn't practice this either a whole lot, though I have heard that he does from time to time and I'm concerned for him.... no matter how much self-defense training of personal protection devices you carry with you you can't prepare for every situation or eventuality. This ain't Adventure Comics!
I wouldn't have rushed in and gotten in the middle of a fight that I was outnumbered in... straight up! Would I have intervened if my approach and presence hadn't stopped it? Of course, just not with the “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality.

HITN: What do you think of him being charged with assault?


Ridiculous!Though bear mace is potent stuff and once sprayed its trail is quite lasting! When the main defendant was interviewed by KING 5 news, which I made my feelings known about on FB, I wasn't surprised to hear that she and her friends were standing around WATCHING a fight take place. So she felt the aftereffects of the bear mace... I consider her apathy and non-interventionist philosophy more wrong that what PJ did.

Also, the arresting officer may hold a grudge against PJ, for whatever reason... but he doesn't hold that grudge against PJ alone! I remember a few months back in the summer the same officer criticized me and my associates for doing a homeless handout and calling in the cops to notify them of a situation across the street from where we were doing our outreach.
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Sky Man

BRIDGES/ RLSH of Seattle


In a nut shell, I think he did the right thing for the wrong reasons.

I also think that what he did has repercussions for all of us. In addition to having to deliver reality checks to the guaranteed crop of newbies that pop up in response to all the media attention (only now instead of being influenced by Kickass, they're going to be following a real person's example and think that they can get away with way more than they actually can), I'm also worried about even worse RLSH relationships with SPD (and possibly other police departments) and possibly even a reevaluation of current legislation. I would not be at all surprised if the future holds changes in self-defense/citizen's arrest laws or judicial management of those laws that make doing what we want to do harder. These laws are intentionally a little grey so that ordinary citizens don't have to be experts to feel safe in doing the right thing - recent (and probably inevitable future) abuses of these laws might cause a shift towards more strict rules.

Time will tell.

The one thing I know for certain is that this incident demonstrates a critical problem for the RLSH - being able to admit making a mistake. PJ may be the most egregious offender, but there are definitely others who are hot on his tail. Hell, I struggle with it.

Keep in mind, I'm not saying that everything PJ does is bad. Far from it. I've met/patrolled with/ and argued my fair share with the guy. I can tell you that he is very passionate about what he does, as well as charismatic. I'd be completely remiss to gloss over the massive public and financial support he has developed that allows him and the RCSM patrol as much--if not more than, the most active members of the community. Finally, he has given this community/movement/clusterfuck an immense amount of media exposure.

This last contribution is what makes his denials of and attempts to cover up his flaws (and other's lack of recognition of those flaws) so dangerous.

As someone who's been wrong about more things than I like to admit (part of the territory of being headstrong and fond of being "right") I fully understand how hard it is to admit fault, or to justify and trivialize other's criticisms because "I've done so many great things!" The thing is, even the most brilliant, accomplished people make mistakes. What separates the good from the great is their ability to adapt and learn from their mistakes.

Like most other aspects of growing up, learning to admit faults is a long, painful process that often looks really damn ugly. It's also necessary.

Hopefully that's somewhat useful to someone.

OPINIONS ELSEWHERE

Comedian Seth Meyer, on Saturday Night Live's Weekend Update: "Phoenix Jones, a self proclaimed costumed vigilante was arrested in Seattle after he allegedly used pepper spray on a group of people leaving a night club. Jones apparently became a superhero after he was bitten by a radioactive idiot."

Former Seattle mayor Paul Schell (on The John Curley Show):"I think you don't need vigilantes. I think you need to make it clear you need police to do a police job otherwise you have chaos. I'm sorry but- and there are always characters like you remember, John, there was this guy who came to every press conference convinced that police had killed Kurt Cobain...so there are characters and that's fine but when someone is taking law into their own hands acting like a vigilante and actually doing that, then it is no longer funny."

You've read these reactions, now I hope you'll add your own in the comments section.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Plot Thickens For Phoenix Jones


Phoenix Jones with a fan on the street.

Early Sunday morning Rain City Superhero Movement Phoenix Jones ran into a bar brawl and was subsequently detained by police. I was there to witness the whole thing and have been offering small updates all week.

But I haven't been the only one interested in the story- there has been a media explosion over the incident. Every Seattle media outlet has been following the story and it has caught on with media around the world.

This has led to Phoenix Jones picking up a large number of supporters on the internet- his official Facebook fan page has close to 34,000 fans from around the world. Some have replaced their own avatar with his picture or posted their own Phoenix Jones fan art.

A sample of some messages on his fan page wall:

"Pow Bam Kaboom......Bringing old sckool whip azz back! I LUV IT"

"Puerto Rico, USA supports you. Come here to inspire other people."

"You have restored my faith in humanity and made me realise there are still people in the world who actually care for others. I have so much respect for you!"

"Keep up the good work, Brother. Don't let the man bring you down."

"dude i just found out seattle has a super hero, i pray you stay safe and protected."

"Hats off to ya, man. A ton of people live in the world...Not many wanting to save it. Be strong, be safe!"

"Steven Seagal should support you,that would be AWESOME"

* * * *

The Rain City Superhero Movement will try to tap into some of this good will tonight for a Community Patrol. The Facebook event page reads:
Phoenix Jones, Purple Reign, and the rest of the Rain City Superheros would like to invite the community to patrol this weekend, Saturday 10pm 1st and Pike. The patrol will be approximately 2 hours. We'd like everyone to come and show their support while seeing how our evening patrols operate and ask any questions about what we do. If any crimes are witnessed we encourage you to call 911 and act as a witness. We do not want anyone to get hurt, if there are any altercations the RCSM team will step in to deescalate.


As of this posting, 17 people have indicated they "are attending."

* * * *

Heroes in the Night is finding a mixed legacy on the responding officer who arrested Phoenix Jones, Officer Camilo DePina. He was awarded as "Officer of the Month" by a Seattle television station in 2008 for successfully talking a suicidal woman off a bridge while off duty.

However, he was sued in 2010 for excessive force in a 2007 incident. In that incident a man, Dewoyne Lowe, had an argument with a security guard at a restaurant. According to KOMO news, court documents allege this story:

As Lowe began walking away, DePina cut him off with his patrol car, the suit alleges. The officer slammed Lowe's head, face-first, into the ground, cuffed him, then threw him onto the hood of the patrol car, (Lowe's attorney) said.

DePina punched Lowe in the groin and "continued his assault in the presence of Officer (Christopher) Christman at the police station by slamming Mr. Lowe's head into the counter multiple times," said (Lowe's attorney) in a written statement.


(Source: www.komonews.com/news/local/95822264.html)

Phoenix Jones says that he has encountered Officer DePina before. Jones alleges that he called in a bag of drugs he found on the street. He says that DePina responded, told Jones to "go home" and drove away. Jones alleges he again met DePina when he had one of his team members act as an "undercover agent" to buy drugs off a dealer. Jones says DePina responded and told him "I've had enough of this vigilante bullshit" and refused to book the dealer.

(Source: Interview on The John Curley Show.)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Phoenix Jones in Court

I am posting these two photos of Phoenix Jones in court today...just because.
Photos appeared on the KOMO News website.
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Jones with his attorney before he was asked to remove his mask.
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Jones outside the courtroom before dramatically taking off his mask and admitting his identity to media. It looks kind of like a comic book cover, doesn't it?

NEWS FLASH: Phoenix Jones Not Charged


Phoenix Jones displays a custom bullet proof "bat shield."


Yesterday I gave a report on "the incident" I witnessed firsthand between Phoenix Jones and a group of individuals who were fighting with each other. (See previous blog entry.)

Jones had a court date this morning and, as I predicted, he showed up to court wearing his mask and his "super suit" underneath a regular suit. He was asked to remove his mask by a court officer, which he did.

The Seattle City Attorney's Office did not file charges against Jones, but according to a seattlepi.com report, "they still have the option to file charges in the case later."

After the hearing Jones put his mask back on, but outside he dramatically ripped it off and revealed his identity--Benjamin Fodor--to reporters.

Seattlepi.com also reports this statement from Jones:

"There were no charges filed, so I will continue to patrol," Fodor told the group of reporters outside King County Jail, where he had the 9 a.m. hearing. "I'm gonna be out with my team probably tonight."


Additional note: "Other journalist" in this and other reports is me, Tea Krulos.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

STATEMENT ON PHOENIX JONES PATROL


A scene from earlier in the night- I take notes near a lamp post, Phoenix Jones talks to a club bouncer, police officers question someone involved in a bar fight.

I have just returned to my home after a trip to the Pacific Northwest- Portland and Seattle. I met a lot of interesting people and participated in a number of activities. I will share these with readers soon, but for now I think it is important I write about a specific event (meanwhile, if you’re curious, you can check out my awesome itinerary in the entry on the blog prior to this one.)

For now I’m going to write about an event involving Phoenix Jones because it has gotten a lot of media attention in the last couple days. I feel it is important to give my eyewitness account of the event for public record, especially as it was not recorded by the Seattle police department.

TESTIMONY OF TEA KRULOS ON PHOENIX JONES CONFRONTATION AND HIS SUBSEQUENT DETAINMENT


My name is Tea Krulos and I am a freelance journalist from Milwaukee, WI. I am writing a book about "real life super heroes" titled Heroes in the Night. As such, I planned a trip to Portland and Seattle to meet real life superheroes including Phoenix Jones and his group. This is my account of the incident, which I am willing to say under oath.

Around 2:30 Sunday morning I was on patrol with Phoenix Jones, video/photographer Ryan McNamee, and a Rain City Superhero Movement member, named Ghost. It had been an eventful night already. Phoenix Jones had intervened in two fights outside of bars in the Pioneer Square area. He used pepper spray in at least one, maybe both cases. Later he was observing a group when a person made threats and brandished a gun. Jones ran across the street and informed police officers, who subsequently detained the individual.

At 2:30 AM we were hanging around 1st Avenue up a ramp from some parking lots near Columbia and Western. Jones was talking with someone on the street that wanted to ask him questions about what he does and take a picture with him.

We heard some loud, aggressive shouting. McNamee said “Phoenix, there's a big fight!” We looked down the ramp and saw a group of 7-9 people in the middle of Columbia Street. The males in the group were pushing and hitting each other and there was a lot of yelling. Jones began to run down the ramp towards them and yelled “CALL 9-11!” As we ran after him, I observed one of the males in the group slam a man into the street and then began kicking him. Two men nearby were grappling with each other.

Jones ran into the middle of the group and yelled “BACK OFF!” a couple times, holding a canister of pepper spray up to display that he was armed with it. He then sprayed one or two of the men who were fighting with the pepper spray.

After this, the scene became very chaotic. The other people in the group had felt the residual effects of the pepper spray. Two females in the group were irate that they had caught some of the pepper spray and that one of their boyfriends had been sprayed. They began to attack Phoenix Jones and Ghost. One of the women repeatedly chased and hit Jones with her high heel shoe. The other woman made a slight effort to hit me and McNamee. I told her to "calm down." Jones yelled "TEA, CALL 911!"

As I was calling 911, a car (a BMW) appeared, did a sharp u-turn and hit one member of the party that had been fighting. It certainly appeared to be intentional. The man that got hit got up and walked away. The car then sped off- Jones chased it down the street shouting out the license plate number. He yelled for me to "CALL 911" again, but I was already on the line. After running after the vehicle, Jones returned. The group of people had moved a little further down the street and congregated in a parking lot. Jones got on the phone with 911 and walked to the block across the street from the group. The females saw him and ran and attacked Jones again. Jones handed me his phone to take over with the 911 dispatcher.

About four of the men, who spoke in Russian, crossed the street. They joined the females and began punching Ghost and McNamee, throwing McNamee into a wall. Jones ran over and dispersed them with more pepper spray. He began leading me, McNamee, and Ghost into putting space between the two groups. As I was walking to catch up with them, still on the phone, one of the men ran up and punched me on the right side of my face. "You are with them! Why?!" He shouted. I told him I wasn't with anyone and told him to back away. I told 911 I had to cut short their questions and take cover because we were "under attack." I cut through an opposing parking lot and half hid behind a concrete pillar. Jones was across the street near an entrance to a ferry terminal. He called for us to cross the street.

I crossed to a median in the middle of the road and talked with Jones for a moment, although I don't remember much of that conversation other than us asking each other if we were ok. We then saw some of the group of people pointing and shouting at us. Two of them ran and got into an Escalade style SUV and revved it up.

"PROTECT YOURSELF--TAKE COVER!" Jones shouted. I crossed the street back to the concrete pillar, where I could keep an eye on both groups of people. The Escalade drove toward Phoenix and he, Ghost, and McNamee went into the ferry terminal to take cover. A man got out of the passenger side of the Escalade and began trying to throw rocks at them. After throwing a few rocks he got back in the Escalade and they returned to the parking lot under the bridge.

Very shortly after that, police arrived on the scene. One squad blocked off the group under the bridge and one squad pulled up near Jones, who waved his arm to flag them down. They instructed him to put his pepper spray on the ground and told him to put his hands on the hood of the squad.

The officers told me, Ghost, and McNamee that we should leave or we would "all be arrested for assault." Ghost took this advice and left. Me and McNamee walked a short distance away so we would not be in the immediate area but could still observe what was going on. We saw the officer instruct Jones to remove his mask and place his ID on the hood of the car. After a minute one of the officers said we should "join the party" and return to the squad. They took our IDs and asked why we were there. We told them and they ran our IDs.

Jones asked if he could put his mask back on since he had been identified. An officer nodded and Jones grabbed his mask, and said in a growling voice-- "GIVE ME BACK MY FACE"- a line the character Rorschach says in the graphic novel Watchmen when he is arrested and demasked. He put his mask back on.

An officer said "this goes for all three of you" and read us our Miranda rights. They handcuffed Jones and placed him in the back of the squad. They returned IDs to me and McNamee and told us to leave. We did not issue statements. From there, me and McNamee, somewhat shook up by the event, started to head back to his car, trying to figure a way that would avoid crossing paths with the other party, as we were afraid if we encountered them they would attack. We eventually got there and McNamee drove me back to a friend's house I was staying at in West Seattle.

UPDATE:
Video added-

Phoenix Jones Stops Assault from Ryan McNamee on Vimeo.

PORTLAND/SEATTLE ITINERARY


Me and Anti-Man in Portland

A HEROES IN THE NIGHT DOCUMENT

ITINERARY FOR TEA KRULOS- PORTLAND AND SEATTLE

(Times are approximate.)

TUES., OCT. 4

19:05 HRS- Arrive at PDX in Portland.
21:00- Meet local friends for drinks.

WEDS., OCT. 5
15:00- Meet up with Knight Owl and go to a martial arts studio where he takes a Krav Maga class. I take an introductory course and then join Knight Owl for a regular class.
11:00- Me and Knight Owl meet Anti-Man for a patrol in the Chinatown area.

THURS., OCT.6

11:00- Meet Illya, who was formerly a RLSH named Zetaman for coffee. Discuss his life post RLSH. Later we stop by an Occupy Protest rally, the Cosmic Monkey comic book store, and the MacDonald Center- a shelter where Illya helps with a program that uses inspiration through superheroes.
14:00- Return to Occupy Portland rally and walk in a march through downtown Portland.
19:00- Meet two members of the Rose City Rebellion, Iconoclast and Dark Wolf, for a patrol around downtown/ Chinatown.

FRI., Oct.7
12:00- Board train to Seattle.
23:00- Picked up by Phoenix Jones and Mist, meet up with their Rain City Superhero Movement team mates Ghost and Pitch Black. Also along- video/photographer Ryan MacNamee and reporter A.J. Roberts. We did a patrol around the U-district, and then Belltown.
Photobucket
L-R: Phoenix Jones, A.J. Roberts, Tea Krulos, Mist

SAT., Oct.8
20:00- Meet Phoenix Jones at space needle, conduct interview while walking around area near space needle, meet up with photographer Lucien Knuteson.
21:00- Me, Jones, and Knuteson head over to the Chocolati café to have a meeting with Jones’ wife, Purple Reign who goes over maps of crime activity with us.
22:00- Begin patrol of Pioneer Square area. Jones breaks up a couple bar fights and gets someone detained for brandishing a weapon.
2:30: Patrol ends after Jones is detained following a large scale brawl (Description to follow in next blog entry).


SUN., Oct.9
11:00-18:00- Attend a gadgeteer build meet up in Everett with Victim, Sky Man, White Baron, and Sir Bob working on a variety of projects.

MON., Oct. 9
11:00- News of Jones’ detainment has been picked up in a major way by the media. I do an interview with MSNBC.(www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44848642/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/superhero-arrested-accused-pepper-spray-assault/#.TpSH4nKOdv9)
12:00- Do lunch and an on camera interview with Matt Harrison for his documentary Citizen Heroes.
15:00- Get coffee with “real life super villainess” Agent Beryllium of the villain group ROACH.
19:00- Interviewed with Ryan MacNamee about the Saturday night incident for The John Curley Show on 97.3 KIRO. Jones makes a surprise visit with Purple Reighn and is also interviewed. (Show: http://mynorthwest.com/?nid=577&a=34554&p&n)
21:00- After interview I am dropped off by Ryan, Phoenix, and Purple at the light rail station to head to the airport.
23:00- Fly out of SEA-TAC toward Milwaukee.

This concludes travels in relation to writing Heroes in the Night.
Photobucket

Monday, October 10, 2011

PHOENIX JONES!

Well, it's been a crazy weekend in Seattle. The media is blowing up with the story of Phoenix Jones being detained after intervening in a brawl. I was there. I witnessed the whole thing. I even got punched a couple times myself.

I will be giving a full account on the blog tomorrow. For now I want to dispute one thing- the people Phoenix disrupted WERE NOT DANCING/ "FROLICKING",or "having a good time."

They were beating the crap out of two people.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

RLSH storyline on "Castle"


Heroes in the Night fans pointed out that the most recent episode of the ABC comedy-drama "Castle" featured a "Real Life Super Hero." In the episode, titled "Heroes and Villains," lead character Richard Castle (played by Nathan Fillion) is hip to the "real life super hero subculture." He shows his detective partner a YouTube video of a bumbling RLSH named "Red Maroon." The two then line up suspects for a RLSH named "Lone Vengeance" who may or may not have murdered a criminal with a samurai sword.

We won't spoil the ending- the episode is available to watch at ABC's website.

Although this is latest fictitious RLSH to appear on a TV show, it isn't the first. A year ago, Heroes in the Night reported on the ABC police drama "Rookie Blue," which also featured a story with a RLSH named "The Guardian."
(heroesinthenight.blogspot.com/2010/09/090410-center-street-patrol-and-other.html)

ALSO: Yesterday was the birthday of The Watchman and I joined him and his Challengers team mates Blackbird, Crimson Crusader and a new recruit, tentatively named Night Vision at his house for a grill out- bratwurst of course, this is Wisconsin. Happy birthday!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Electron, Heroes in the Night in Badger Herald


Electron- photo by Matt Hintz/ Badger Herald

Madison, Wisconsin is the capitol of Wisconsin and located about 90 minutes West of Milwaukee. Madison has a sole reserve member of the Milwaukee based team, The Challengers, named Electron. The Badger Herald, a newspaper associated with the University of Wisconsin-Madison recently ran an article on Electron with a quote from Heroes in the Night author Tea Krulos thrown in for good measure.

The article, written by Lin Weeks can be found here:
badgerherald.com/artsetc/2011/09/20/electron_the_many_la.php

Monday, September 19, 2011

Rain City Superhero Arrest Captured on "Phoenix Cam"

Seattle-
Phoenix Jones has posted video which shows what he claims is his 32nd capture of a criminal that has led to an arrest. Jones was joined by members of his Rain City Superhero Movement and the Citizen Heroes documentary crew. The pursuit and capture of a man outside of a Seattle club was captured by the "Phoenix Cam," an ongoing video documentation of Jones and company's adventures.

Phoenix writes this description of the video (transcribed from his famous ALL CAPS style):

On patrol with Ghost, No Name, Mist, El Caballero and the Citizen Heroes documentary crew. We are on patrol in Belltown when we hear a man yelling 'DONT TALK TO MY WIFE LIKE THAT!' We see him throw the punch and that's when Ryan turns the camera on. We catch the perp running up the street and yell to him to stop. At this point the man who was assaulted is up and chasing with us (his wife is pregnant and was being harassed by the susspect previous to the video)-He runs into a parking lot and swings a punch at us, so I pepper spray him.
The chase continues and I finally tackle him in a parking lot. The police pull up so I back up. The best thing about arrest 32 is the police giving us thanks at the end.


The video follows:



Heroes in the Night author Tea Krulos will be in Portland and Seattle the first week of October.