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Masked ‘Superheroes’ Patrol Utah Streets For Crime

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The group now has nine men who patrol downtown Salt Lake City at least a couple of times a month, but they are careful to distinguish themselves from what people see in the new Batman series or the movies “Kick-Ass” and “Watchmen.”

“Those movies have done more damage to the real-life superhero community than anything else,” said Mike Gailey, a 6-foot-1-inch, 245-pound man who goes by the name Asylum. “You can’t just go out and beat someone up for jaywalking.”

In the five years they’ve been together, they’ve never come to blows with anyone, they said. A check of Utah court records shows no criminal history for any of the members in the state.

Usually, they say, just their presence is enough to startle someone into thinking clearly again or calm down a situation where people are engaged in a shouting match or fighting. Much of the time, they’re helping a person passed out from too much drinking find his way home or bringing food to homeless people.

Gailey says the group serves as an extra set of eyes and ears for the police. They do carry pepper spray, highdecibel whistles and Tasers, but they’ve never had to use any of them, he said.

The Salt Lake City Police Department is familiar with the society and the work it members do. The department doesn’t look at them as criminals or vigilantes, said Detective Dennis McGowan, but also can’t vouch for them because they have not received the training that, for example, conventional Neighborhood Watch groups have received.

“We’ve never had a problem with the Black Monday Society, but it’s our watch groups that we know are properly trained and know how to alert police to a problem,” McGowan said.

Gailey claims he joined after serving as a man who collected debts across the state “one way or another” for drug dealers. After being the one called in to identify the bodies of three close friends who died in drug-related incidents, and losing a few more, he said he realized he needed to change. He made some of those changes, including starting a family, and began working with Montgomery at Frankie’s Tattoo Parlor in Clearfield, which serves as the group’s de facto Batcave, about the same time he joined the society.

“It’s my way to give back to people I had helped hold back,” he said.

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Posted by FanningCommunications on Nov 1st, 2011 and filed under American Street Guide. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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