Earlier today Allahpundit wrote about the so-called Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ) which was set up in Seattle after police retreated from a few square blocks. The denizens of this new experiment in police-free living were probably envisioning a utopia full of peace and community love. Instead they got a new self-appointed police force led by a rapper named Raz Simone.
Early this morning someone posted a video clip to Reddit which shows Simone and a group of people confronting a graffiti artist. Things escalate and eventually the tagger is assaulted by someone in the group and has his phone taken away. The video is about an hour long but here’s a summary created by someone in the Reddit thread:
tl;dw: Man was tagging over someone else’s art, Raz and group approach and separate him from crowd, chasing him for two blocks. He begins to film them with his phone, they take it from him. He tries to get it back and they attack him, kicking him in the head and breaking his glasses. At one point, Raz threatens to shoot the man. They then begin to gaslight him that it was all his fault. Audio only for most of the end, because woman in Raz’ crew filming puts the phone in her pocket while the stream continues.
Someone else created this timeline of significant moments in the video. I’ve verified that this is roughly accurate though some of the wording is slightly different than in the actual video:
0:35: “We are the police of this community now!”
6:20: “For your own safety, you need to go” seems like a thinly veiled threat
7:10: “You might need a little love tap” as a cutesy way of describing earlier assault
9:10: “We got to the point where addressing the point physically was the best way to get our point across.”
11:00: Video blacked out as conflict heats up.
12:30: Someone starts yelling “WHAT THE FUCK” for reasons unclear. Based on later context, this appears to be when most of the assault occurred, may have involved kicking, definitely broke his glasses.
13:20: “Give me your phone and sit down.” / “You just broke my glasses! I’m blind!” /”If you don’t sit down, I’ll make you sit down!”
13:45: “You just broke my glasses and stole my phone!”
14:45: “You just broke my glasses!” “Yeah, we should have broken your face!”
15:10: “Don’t be making no threats n****, I’ll blow your brains out” (the “threat” appears to have been “I want to leave here within the next 15 minutes”, I think?)
Eventually, the victim of the assault did get his phone back and stuck around for a “conversation” which, according to Raz Simone solved everything. Here’s a brief portion of the video followed by Raz Simone’s claim that everything ended with hugs and apologies.
This actually went beautifully and we all hugged it out and spoke with his dad. His dad now wants me to mentor him. It was great black dialogue and men apologizing to each other, abandoning pride. We all hugged each other, cried it out and it was beautiful.
— Raz Simone (@RazSimone) June 10, 2020
Not everyone is convinced this “went beautifully.” Some in the Reddit thread point out that this isn’t so different from the kind of law enforcement violence protesters have been protesting about.
Others are suggesting Simone is a de facto “warlord.”
You can watch the full clip for yourself here. Most of the action happens via audio only as the person filming put the phone in her pocket. But we do hear the victim say at least a dozen times that someone broke his glasses.
While the criminal justice front of CHAZ doesn’t seem to be going very well, here’s a list of demands made by the organizers. It includes abolishing police and the courts and refers to the Seattle PD as a “terrorist cell.”
The Seattle Police Department and attached court system are beyond reform. We do not request reform, we demand abolition. We demand that the Seattle Council and the Mayor defund and abolish the Seattle Police Department and the attached Criminal Justice Apparatus. This means 100% of funding, including existing pensions for Seattle Police…
We demand decriminalization of the acts of protest, and amnesty for protestors generally, but specifically those involved in what has been termed “The George Floyd Rebellion” against the terrorist cell that previously occupied this area known as the Seattle Police Department.
We’ve seen all of this before, sadly. If you were around when the Occupy protests were a thing, they also believed they had created a new utopia of equality for everyone to emulate. And then it became clear that people were being assaulted, threatened and even raped inside the camps. The lead camp in Zuccotti Park even set up a women-only tent in an effort to protect women from sexual assault.
But, hey, I’m sure the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone will work out great. Instead of all that messy due process and police we’ll just have an armed rapper and his guys wandering around smacking and threatening to kill people who get on their nerves. What could possibly go wrong?