US & Canada

'Superhero' Phoenix Jones: 'I'll keep Seattle safe'

Phoenix Jones, aka Ben Fodor, speaks with reporters 13 October 2011
Image caption Seattle superhero Phoenix Jones...

A self-styled superhero known as Phoenix Jones has been unmasked in a Seattle court as he waits to see if he is charged with a pepper spray attack.

Police say Phoenix Jones - real name Benjamin Fodor - attacked four people who had left a Seattle nightclub.

As the court hearing ended, he tore off a dress shirt to reveal his black and yellow superhero costume.

Prosecutors said they had not yet decided whether to file charges, but Mr Fodor vowed to continue crimefighting.

The 23-year-old, who leads the Rain City Superhero Movement, said he was trying to break up a fight. The clubgoers insisted to police they were not fighting.

"I will continue to patrol with my team, probably tonight," he told the Seattle Times on Thursday. "I am just like everybody else. The only difference is that I try to stop crime in my neighbourhood."

During the hearing, a court officer asked Jones to remove his mask. He did so, but then put it back on to speak to reporters.

Seattle Police are not likely to be calling on Mr Jones to help them keep Seattle safe.

Image caption ....is unmasked as Benjamin Fodor

"If people want to dress up and walk around, knock yourself out," said police spokesman Mark Jamieson. "Our concern is when you insert yourself into these situations without knowing the facts, it's just not a smart thing to do."

According to the Associated Press news agency, a police report says there have been increased reports of citizens being pepper-sprayed by the would-be superhero and his group.

Although Phoenix Jones "has been advised to observe and report incidents to [police], he continues to try to resolve things on his own," the report says.