Rapper Raz Simone, whose real name is Solomon Samuel Simone, rejected the label that he’s a “terrorist warlord” in a June 13 interview with The Epoch Times inside CHAZ. Online social media videos, however, paint a different picture.
On the first night after the Seattle Police Department vacated its East Precinct building, Simone, who had an AK-47 on his shoulder and a pistol on his hip, screamed “This is War!” into a megaphone and “instructed armed paramilitaries to guard the barricades in shifts,” according to City Journal, an urban-policy magazine.
Simone denied carrying a firearm at the time.
“[I’m] definitely not a terrorist warlord, monarch, or any of those names that they have been calling me. It’s completely false,” Simone told The Epoch Times.
EXCLUSIVE: I just interviewed the so-called “warlord” of #CHAZ – rapper Raz Simone.
I asked him what he thought of the title.
I also asked him why he was carrying a concealed handgun to the zone today.
[PART 1] pic.twitter.com/UZTsKOgngl
— Bowen Xiao (@BowenXiao_) June 13, 2020
“When I saw it on the news, part of me was just dying laughing, and part of me was like that is a scary accusation, because I know what that does—that’s like a dog whistle to any American who’s a patriot to get down here and exterminate the terrorist warlord.”
That night, Simone was filmed on video “allegedly assaulting multiple protestors who disobeyed his orders, informing them that he was the ‘police’ now, sparking fears that he was becoming the de facto warlord of the autonomous zone,” City Journal reported. Another video appears to show Simone allegedly physically assaulting someone.
The zone, a “police-free” area that covers an area of about six blocks, has makeshift borders constructed via old police barricades, fencing, plywood, overturned dumpsters, trash cans, and warning cones.
A cardboard sign reads that you are now “leaving the USA.” Anti-police, pro-revolution, and pro-Black Lives Matter graffiti is seen throughout the area.
“We have been hearing from community members that they have been subjected to barricades set up by the protesters, with some armed individuals running them as checkpoints into the neighborhood,” Seattle Assistant Police Chief Deanna Nollette told reporters on June 10.
“While they have a constitutionally protected right to bear arms, and while Washington is an open-carry state, there is no legal right for those arms to be used to intimidate community members.”
According to The Washington Times, there are various Twitter accounts that have portrayed Simone as a sort of warlord in the Seattle neighborhood, with him replacing the police and city authorities.
One video of Simone shows him trying to stop a man from spraying graffiti, before the confrontation appears to escalate into a physical one.
“We are the police of this community now,” one protester can be heard saying in the video.
Simone, who was carrying a pistol on his side during the interview, claimed he was open carrying for self-defense purposes only.
“It’s because I have thousands of death threats in my inbox from people who believed the Fox News and believe that I’m this terrorist warlord who’s holding everyone here captive … and extorting the businesses and roughing people up if they graffiti on walls.”
The zone has also caught the attention of President Donald Trump, who has called on Seattle’s mayor and Washington’s governor to “take back” the city.
“Domestic Terrorists have taken over Seattle, run by Radical Left Democrats, of course,” Trump wrote in one post. “LAW & ORDER!”
In a post on Medium, protestors in the zone compiled a list of demands that include the abolition of the Seattle Police Department and the attached criminal justice apparatus, to reparations for victims of police brutality, among others.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report