Lacking agreed-upon leadership, those who have naturally risen to the top have done so with force or intimidation. For example, rapper Raz Simone, real name Solomon Simone, patrols CHAZ on some nights with an armed entourage. Simone, originally from Georgia, has an arrest record for child cruelty and other charges. He usually conducts his patrols carrying a long semi-auto rifle and sidearm. Last weekend, a live stream recorded Simone handing another man a rifle from the trunk of a car.
Not everyone in CHAZ recognizes Simone’s police-like presence, but no one is willing to stand up to him and his group. There have been consequences to those perceived as challengers or threats. Independent Los Angeles-based journalist Kalen D’Ameida recorded Simone and his crew in the early hours of Monday morning. He was spotted by one of Simone’s men, who manhandled him and demanded he turn over his mobile device. Simone’s team chased D’Ameida and tried to drag him to the security tent. He escaped by hiding in a construction site outside CHAZ until police responded to his 911 call.This entire incident is a cautionary tale, and the leadership of Seattle seems both unable and unwilling to civil order in the area.