Today’s read is from Andy Ngo, the Editor-at-large for The Post Millennial. Here’s an excerpt.
Mainstream media reports have focused on the “block party” atmosphere of the occupation, repeating a talking point from the Seattle mayor. She, along with Gov. Jay Inslee, a fellow Democrat, have gone to great lengths to emphasize the “peaceful” nature of the occupation. For media crews that arrive during the day, that is certainly what they will see. People have barbecues in the street. Many bring their children to make street art. People walk their dogs.
But at night, a whole different side of the CHAZ emerges.
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 the 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 livestream recorded Simone handing another man a rifle from the trunk of a car.
Not everyone in the CHAZ recognizes Simone’s police-like presence, but no one is willing to stand up to him and his group. There have been consequences for 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. 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 the CHAZ until police responded to his 911 call.