Phoenix Jones, Seattle's own superhero, joined the Dori Monson Show to discuss a video shot of him and a man engaging in "mutual combat" as Seattle police officers look on.
The self-styled "rain-city superhero" says he was called to action when he saw a man punching the window of a car on University Way early Friday morning. Phoenix, who regularly patrols Seattle streets looking out for this kind of aggression, called 911 and stepped in to prevent what he thought might be an assault in progress.
"He was over near this car, and he's been yelling at this car, slamming his fist on the hood, so I start to call 911 and he punches the window and the window cracks," said Phoenix. "So me and my guys go over and split it up."
The group started to walk away as the suspect in the video acted more and more aggressively toward Phoenix, trying to provoke him. The man followed them for blocks, yelling racial slurs.
It was only when the man threatened Phoenix and said he'd follow him home that Phoenix faced his aggressor.
"I'm not going to let someone follow me to my house," said Phoenix. "I'm not letting some guy who's violent with other people follow me home. It's not going to happen. If it had just been about him calling me the N-word, I would have walked it off, like I told the cops. It was just, the cop had said he was going to let that guy follow me. No one is going to follow me."
Dori noted that the fight was a mismatch from the beginning.
"I have a couple black belts and about 30 cage fights or so," said Phoenix of his mixed martial arts experience.
After clarifying the terms of legal "mutual combat" with his opponent and police officers standing by, the two men shook hands. Phoenix came out on top in the melee and backed off once his opponent went down.
Phoenix said he tried to cause minimal physical damage during the fight. He reasoned that if the man couldn't walk, he couldn't follow him home.
"What people are forgetting," said Phoenix, "Is that we agreed to fight until he falls down."
In the aftermath of the videotaped fight, however, Seattle police officers are having to justify their decision to stand by and watch the fight.
Phoenix argued that the police didn't have grounds to intervene, since they agreed to mutual combat, which has legal precedent under Washington state case law. Phoenix even carries a card in his pocket explaining the legality of a duel in the streets, where both parties consent to the fight and agree to the rules.
"No laws were broken," said Phoenix.
Dori has known Phoenix for years and knows how skilled and capable he is.
"Ben (Phoenix's mild-mannered alter-ego) grew up, what, three doors down from me," said Dori. "I've always thought you were a great young man, and now you're Phoenix Jones."
But despite his confidence in the superhero's skills, Dori still worries that his long-time friend will be seriously hurt patrolling our city streets.
"Someone has to protect this city. I chose this job," said Phoenix, "And I'm going to do it to the best of my abilities, and I understand the consequences."
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