Only folks without a modicum of understanding about human nature and history should be surprised that an authoritarian “warlord” has taken over in the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, a section of Seattle that protesters have occupied since last week.
Following protests over the death of George Floyd, who died last month while in police custody in Minneapolis after an officer knelt on his neck for almost nine minutes, riots erupted in cities throughout the U.S., including Seattle.
Last week, a standoff with the Seattle Police Department ended when authorities essentially ceded control of the roughly six blocks of the city neighborhood that has become the CHAZ (or maybe the CHOP — they apparently can’t agree on the name now), including the East Precinct.
Protesters cordoned off the area with barricades and utilized armed protesters for protection. Local rap artist Raz Simone has acted as a de facto enforcer within the settlement.
While reports vary about life inside the CHAZ, it is clear that Simone’s methods have taken on the tenor of tyrannical enforcement, which earned him the nickname “warlord” and is exactly the type of behavior many protesters in the Black Lives Matter movement used to justify defunding police.
For instance, the night the protesters took over the area, Simone was busy prowling the blocks, armed with an AK-47 and pistol, shouting “this is war” into the streets on his megaphone, according to City Journal.
And in an incident Wednesday, Simone and his entourage flexed their might after a vandal spray-painted on the wall of a building where it was verboten (not vandalism in general, just on that particular building where the owner had been supportive).
While Simone and his associates initially tried to tell the vandal not to destroy a building where the owner was “being nice” letting them stay there, the young man with the spray paint would not relent.
“We are the police of this community now,” Simone’s associate said. “We are the leaders of this community now.”
“It was OK to destroy the precinct but this is not OK?” the muralist tried to argue, but pointing out his hypocrisy caused Simone to move closer to the man, at first trying to physically back him away from the wall, then draping his arm around the man’s shoulder.
The situation escalated as the vandal protested being touched at all, and Simone’s associates rousted the man before he was driven out of the area.
Simone later wrote on Twitter that the two ended up “hugging it out” and that the young man’s father later asked him to mentor his son.
“Policing in the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone by @RazSimone,” on Twitter user wrote, adding a video of the interaction. “There appear to be no body cameras, reports, or oversight and accountability. This was an attempt at de-escalation for spraying paint onto a building which resulted in an alleged assault.”
Policing in the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone by @RazSimone. There appear to be no body cameras, reports, or oversight and accountability. This was an attempt at de-escalation for spraying paint onto a building which resulted in an alleged assault. #chaz #FreeCapitolHill pic.twitter.com/dI1J6QNcpn
— TheWholeStory (@TheWholeStory6) June 10, 2020
In another incident caught on video, Simone purportedly attacked a citizen journalist as the two argued, with Simone saying he was a “peaceful man” before taking a swipe at the man and his camera.
“Seattle’s resident warlord Raz assaults citizen journalists and streamers,” journalist Ian Miles Cheong tweeted. “He’d be a named enemy in The Division.”
Seattle’s resident warlord Raz assaults citizen journalists and streamers.
He’d be a named enemy in The Division. pic.twitter.com/wGf6qrah8D
— Ian Miles Cheong (@stillgray) June 11, 2020
Simone has also allegedly handed out guns to protesters, apparently not subscribing to the usual leftist agenda about banning so-called assault rifles or requiring waiting periods for gun owners.
“In Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA on Monday June 8, 2020, @RazSimone hands out firearms to unknown individuals who stated they were 18 years old,” a Twitter user wrote with video showing Simone armed and handing out guns to others. “One protestor stated there was a ‘bad energy,’ a ‘threat’ and they were exercising their rights.”
In Capitol Hill, Seattle, WA on Monday June 8, 2020, @RazSimone hands out firearms to unknown individuals who stated they were 18 years old. One protestor stated there was a “bad energy,” a “threat” and they were exercising their rights. #CHOP #CHAP #CapitolHillAutonomousZone pic.twitter.com/GdUNUx2b7J
— TheWholeStory (@TheWholeStory6) June 15, 2020
It is understandable why Twitter has dubbed Simone a “warlord,” as it is fitting for a man who has appointed himself the sole arbiter of justice in a lawless land, smacking down dissenters and arming the rebellion.
But Simone pinned the nickname on President Donald Trump when he tweeted, “Domestic Terrorists have taken over Seattle, run by Radical Left Democrats, of course.”
“LAW & ORDER!” Trump wrote, not specifically naming Simone or even the CHAZ and likely directing his ire to politicians in charge of the city and state.
“The President really put a hit on my head,” Simone tweeted in reply. “I’m not a Terrorist Warlord. Quit spreading that false narrative. The world has NEVER been ready for a strong black man.”
“We have been peaceful and nothing else. If I die don’t let it be in vain,” he added, providing no supporting facts about the president or anyone threatening him.
The President really put a hit on my head. I’m not a Terrorist Warlord. Quit spreading that false narrative. The world has NEVER been ready for a strong black man. We have been peaceful and nothing else. If I die don’t let it be in vain. pic.twitter.com/HSEs5C2QRv
— Raz Simone (@RazSimone) June 11, 2020
It is unclear why he felt the president was singling him out, but nevertheless, if the videos accurately represent what life under Simone’s policing is like, he might be right to lump himself into Trump’s tweet against “domestic terrorists,” even if the president has no idea that he even exists.
Simone’s rule is apparently worse than any of the law enforcement that protesters have railed against as he patrols his streets heavily armed, with unchecked power and absolute authority.
It is only a matter of time before a movement with a man like Simone as its de facto enforcer will degrade into violence and complete destruction.
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