An Inside Look at the Violent ‘Autonomous Zones’

By Donald Jeffries

With the recent efforts by Democrats to establish a 9/11-stye commission for the Jan. 6 “insurrection” at the U.S. Capitol, it is instructive to look back on what happened last year, when leftist revolutionaries literally took over portions of America. But don’t expect a commission to be set up to investigate them or any meaningful arrests to be made.

Former Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best resigned last summer after the Seattle City Council voted to cut millions of dollars from the city’s police department budget. In a recent interview, Best charged that the mainstream media provided distorted coverage inside Seattle’s Capitol Hill Organized Protest (CHOP) zone to make it appear less dangerous. Best claimed that the “destructive behavior” of the protesters “did not get the level of publicity or media attention” as the other more politically correct cases did, especially the death of George Floyd.

“I would read stories about the peaceful protests. I go, ‘Well, part of it was peaceful.’ But I was standing 20 feet away from a hail of rocks. I was looking right at them rain down, feet from me. I was behind a telephone pole,” Best declared. “But, certainly, we were trying to look as non-threatening as possible, maybe not have the riot shields up. But once we know we’re going to be getting rocks and bottles thrown at us, I have a responsibility as a chief to make sure people have protective gear. We can’t just leave them out there with soft hats [while] rocks are being thrown.”

When Antifa and Black Lives Matter (BLM) protesters took over a section of Seattle last summer, first christening it as CHAZ (Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone), and then CHOP, the authorities went beyond standing down. The police abandoned their precinct within the new “autonomous” borders. At least two murders, at least five burned police cars, widespread looting, vandalism and arson, and numerous allegations of rape were involved. Hip-hop artist Solomon “Raz” Simone became the self-anointed “Warlord” of CHAZ/CHOP. Although he was suitably armed with what is usually termed an “assault weapon” by the leftwing media, Simone was treated respectfully in interviews with the likes of CNN.

Several women have accused Simone of abuse and coercion. Activist Jaiden Grayson condemned Sim one to the crowd, exclaiming: We are aware of your behaviors seen and unseen. Despite the fact that you are clearly evading any form of accountability by the state—and that’s okay, because we’re working on dismantling the system—but the streets know what you’re up to.

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Angelica Campbell has accused Simone of pushing her into prostitution. In other words, of being a common pimp. Naturally, Simone attributed the allegations to “racism.”

Simone appears to have the trappings of significant wealth. The 30-year-old wears gold chains and heavy rings, which a former girlfriend alleged left imprints on her face. Simone owns two properties in the Seattle area, and rents out two “well appointed” condos. Simone’s rap lyrics contain the usual violent rhetoric against women.

“Waking up and seeing him on the news for something that I feel so strongly about, when this person abused me, that was my push,” said Amanda Branch, who claims Simone took the money she earned as a stripper.

“It was very painful for me to see my abuser in a place of power. It is absolutely disgusting to me.” Simone had a trunk full of guns in his Tesla, and was seen openly handing them out to fellow protesters. Despite this, there was only fawning media coverage. “Simone wants to stand up for what’s right,” Forbes stated. “He’s appalled by the brutal and militaristic tactics used by the police, as they abuse tear gas, flash bombs, gestapo tactics, rubber bullets and other measures with such impunity.”

In 2019, a year before CHAZ/ CHOP, the city of Seattle had gifted a grant of $83,250 to Simone to help build a recording studio. There are no reports anywhere of Simone—or any other CHAZ/CHOP protester—being charged with any crimes in conjunction with the armed takeover of a district in Seattle.

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The success of CHAZ/CHOP inspired another “autonomous” zone in Portland, Ore. Somewhat surprisingly, police in riot gear broke this particular zone up after only five hours. Later in June 2020, activists set up an area near Lafayette Square in Washington, D.C., but it too was quickly dismantled. President Donald Trump threatened protesters with “serious force,” and, in response, Twitter placed a warning flag on his tweet. In Philadelphia, protesters were only able to take over a hospital for an hour.

What is missing from any reports on CHAZ/CHOP and other “autonomous” zones are examples of arrests, let alone prosecutions. In comparison, an unknown number of those who ventured into the Capitol on Jan. 6 remain behind bars, many in solitary confinement. Some have been beaten by guards, and many are scheduled for prosecution.