Costumed Crusaders Patrol Downtown San Diego In The Name Of Justice
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Aired 12/18/13 on KPBS Midday Edition.
Mr. Xtreme is the founding member of the Xtreme Justice League. By day he's a security guard.
Emerald Fael is a member of the Xtreme Justice League, and by day she works as an executive for a company in Poway.
San Diego Police Lieutenant Kevin Mayer
If this were Metropolis or Gotham City, seeing a superhero downtown wouldn't be abnormal. But in San Diego, the sight of crime fighters dressed up in masks and capes can cause something of a stir.
That's OK with the members of the Xtreme Justice League. This small band of costumed characters walks the streets of downtown San Diego, aiming to break up fights and maintain order.
They are part of a movement called Real Life Superheroes. The group's members say they are dedicated and eager to help protect the public.
Mr. Xtreme, a 37-year-old security guard and the founder of San Diego's Xtreme Justice League said in 2006, he wondered, "What if someone out there started dressing up like a super hero and protected the streets?"
He Googled "real super heroes," and found out that people were doing just that all over the world.
Mr. Xtreme decided he wanted to form a group to protect public safety in San Diego. The Xtreme Justice League was born, and so was his superhero persona.
Mr. Xtreme wears green from head to toe. His costume includes a Kevlar helmet, a baseball catcher's chest protector, shin guards, military tactical goggles with eyes painted on them to conceal his identity, a utility belt and a cape.
He carries a tactical light with pepper spray to protect himself from would-be attackers. He said in the seven years that he's patrolled San Diego's streets, he's used the pepper spray about six times to either protect himself or others.
Mr. Xtreme said the relationship between the Xtreme Justice League and the San Diego Police Department used to be adversarial; The group has been detained by police and "given a tongue lashing," he said, but now the relationship is better.
SDPD Lieutenant Kevin Mayer agreed.
"They are like a force multiplier," he said.
Mayer said there's no easy answer to the question of whether people should intervene to stop violence. But he said, people need to know their limitations.
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