The so called 'warlord' of the deadly 2020 Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone (CHAZ), also known as the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest, in Seattle is being sued by five women, four accusing him of trafficking them.
According to the suit revealed by KUOW, Solomon "Raz" Simone, a Seattle rapper who opened for Macklemore and Ryan Lewis on their 2016 tour, targeted vulnerable young women who were already involved in sex work or that he could push into the life.
The women allege that Simone convinced them into becoming members of his "family." According to the suit, the women accused Simone of imposing strict rules on their behavior and pressuring them to meet an earning quota by stripping or performing sex acts, then took the money they made. The women claim that Simone used violence, threats and coercion to make them comply, and would also use the women as inspiration for his music.
Last year, a report by KUOW profiled two of the five women suing Simone, Amanda Branch and Angelica Campbell. They came forward with their stories after Simone made national headlines as the self-appointed warlord of the CHAZ.
According to KUOW, an activist named Jaiden Grayson was aware of the allegations against Simone and halfway through the occupation called out Simone publicly at a protest. Grayson told the outlet that after the incident Simone "folded himself into the shadows" in an "attempt to hide away."
This is substantiated by Simone disappearing from view and media reports in the zone following the public call-out.
KUOW profiled one of the women named Pearl who alleges that Simone sex-trafficked and abused her in Las Vegas where she worked as a stripper and performed sex acts for more than a year. Her shifts were so long that in 2016 she was admitted to the hospital with kidney damage, caused by severe dehydration.
Pearl told the outlet that Simone held her captive for in a sleeping pod in Seattle and multiple times forcibly had sex with her, assaulted her and strangled her.
She also claimed that after she finally left him, he continued to harass her on social media.
According to KUOW, in July 2017, Pearl received a protection order against Simone from an Eighth Judicial District Court hearing master in Clark County, Nevada.
The outlet also profiled a woman named Nabila who allegedly came to visit her friend Pearl and had sex with Simone and was brought into "the family."
Nabila claims in the suit that in Seattle she was trained by another woman, who is a defendant in the lawsuit against Simone and his associates, and was forced to strip and give Simone a cut of her earnings.
The lawsuit also describes Nabila being forced by Simone to get her passport photo without her hijab, a traditional head covering of Islamic faith and urinating on herself on a flight because Simone would not let her use the restroom.
Nabila also alleges that Simone assaulted her by slamming her against the bathroom wall, knocking her unconscious. When she woke up, he allegedly forced her face under running water from the sink and forced her into sex, causing her to slam her head against the bathroom mirror.
According to the suit, Nabila also alleged that like Pearl, she was locked in a sleeping pod. She alleged multiple occasion where Simone forced her into sex, beat her and strangled her.
Amanda Branch told KUOW that Simone coerced her into stripping out of state, took her money and assaulted her. Branch has supporting accounts from witnesses and hospital records.
Angelica Campbell told the outlet that Simone pushed her into sex work, assaulted her, tried to shake her down for money, make her sleep on the floor and even starved her. Campbell provided texts to the outlets to prove that Simone was giving her directions to hotels for sex work.
According to KUOW, Campbell obtained a protection order against Simone, and as a result an order was issued for him to surrender weapons. But as of Jan. 6, they have been unable to serve him.
After receiving her protection order, Pearl reconnected with Nabila and managed to contact the other girls as well.
According to the outlet, Bill Guyer, a Seattle police detective, who has worked to stop the trafficking of children, was investigating Simone. Guyer shared his files with the FBI after talking to the women.
Simone spoke to KUOW on multiple occasions and denied the accusations, including in a letter his lawyer sent to KUOW and in a music video he published following KUOW’s initial story.
The plaintiffs are each seek $1 million in damages.
Simone was very visible in the at the beginning of the occupation of 6 blocks of Seattle which began after the Seattle Police were ordered to abandon the East Precinct after multiple consecutive nights of riots in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
During the armed occupation, Simone led marches, gave speeches to the protesters and acted as spokesman with the media for the occupation.
During that time, he was videoed assaulting people in the zone and pulling out AR-15s from the trunk of a white Tesla and giving them out to anyone who would stand a post in the occupation.
Mainstream media, including the New York Times and CNN, tried to portray Simone as a social justice warrior. Forbes wrote, "Simone wants to stand up for what's right. 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, Simone was awarded a $83,250 grant to build a recording studio in the same building where much of the activity described in the suit was alleged to have occurred. However, an investigation by The Post Millennial revealed that the funds were not dispersed to Simone.
Erika Lindsay, communications manager for the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture told KUOW that "After the grant award process, we did become aware of public allegations." Lindsay told the outlet in an email that she was referring to allegations of abuse.
"(The lack of payment) wasn't a direct result of the allegations, however it spurred us to accelerate work on our office's policy on accountability."
Even with videos of Simone's alleged violence widely circulation on social media, an extensive rap sheet, and the city having pulled the grant, city officials coordinated with the "warlord."According to text messages obtained by The Post Millennial, the office of then Mayor Jenny Durkan, former Police Chief Carmen Best and Fire Chief Harold Scoggins coordinated with Simone.
The majority of those texts have been deleted and have been unrecoverable from devices.
Emails obtained last year by The Post Millennial show that the city knew about the dangers in CHAZ, yet continued to push the false narrative of peace. Multiple lawsuits against the city by those affected by the 'autonomous zone' are proceeding.
As previously reported by The Post Millennial, during the occupation, Mayor Jenny Durkan tweeted praise and encouragement to protesters, and told CNN it could be a "summer of love." Durkan even compared the CHAZ to a block party. City Council members supported the occupation and continued to try and create a narrative of a "peaceful protest."