While Batman was traditionally depicted as being on largely friendly terms with more legal branches of law enforcement from his 1930s inception right up through the Adam West television series in the 1960s (where he and Robin were very pointedly described as “duly deputized advents of the Gotham police force” by Commissioner Gordon); from the 1970s on the relationship has been portrayed as much more strained – and even outright hostile, as far as most of the live action Batman movies have been concerned.
But while even the most morally-ambiguous Batman would probably think twice before whipping a “batarang” at a police car, that’s exactly what led to the arrest of an unidentified Seattle Man this past Monday.
The bizarre incident is alleged to have unfolded when Seattle Police responded to a report of violence at a Capitol Hill bar, where an unnamed assailant was said to have threatened a bouncer using a homemade spear apparently made from a knife and a metal pole. The suspect fled, followed by police, and during the pursuit was observed throwing a then-unidentified object at the officers’ vehicle. After apprehending the suspect, the vehicle was inspected and the weapon was discovered to a sharpened metallic batarang. While no injuries were reported, police photographs indicate that the weapon was sharpened and thrown with enough force to lodge its “wingtip” in the bumper of the car. The suspect has been booked for felony assault, though police are seeking additional charges for weapons and obstruction of justice.
The batarang in question was of the metallic “throwing-star” design seen in the Christopher Nolan The Dark Knight films. While it is unclear whether the potentially deadly weapon was a repurposed piece of official merchandising from the film or a knock-off, it did not appear to be homemade and had the words “Made in China” stamped prominently on one side – though it’s possible that the suspect had additionally sharpened the object themselves. The weapon measured approximately seven inches in length, and was “wrapped” on one end, possibly to make handling/throwing easier.
Originally functioning as a conventional boomerang shaped like his bat-insignia, the batarang was Batman’s most prominent throwing weapon in the early comics but was generally deployed without lethal intent; usually to knock an opponent off-balance or carry an attached bat-rope as either a lasso or climbing tool. Like many aspects of the bat-arsenal, it received a more violent upgrade from Frank Miller in The Dark Knight returns, where the traditional full-sized batarang was replaced by smaller bladed versions used in the manner of shurikens or “throwing stars” in certain martial-arts disciplines.
At this time, it is unclear if there was a specific intent behind the alleged attacker’s use of a Batman-inspired weapon – or why he happened to by carrying a spear and throwing star with him in the first place.