Solomon Raz Simone is the Seattle rapper who became famous on social media for his connection to the Seattle Black Lives Matter protests and “the CHAZ.” The CHAZ was the Seattle’s “Black Lives Matter 24/7 Autonomous Protest Zone.” Former Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan defended the CHAZ and even made an appearance. However, it quickly descended into mob fights and shootings.
During a period of just a few weeks, six people were shot. Two of them were killed. A motorist was shot and injured on June 7th. On June 20th, two different people were shot in two different incidents. Horace Lorenzo Anderson Jr, a 19-year-old black male, was killed. On June 21st, a fourth person was shot. On June 23rd, a fifth person was shot. On June 29th, a sixth and seventh person was shot. Antonio Mays Jr., a 16-year-old black male, was killed.
Simone became known as the “warlord” of the CHAZ on social media. Now, at least eight women say they were victims of sex trafficking at his hands.
Since 2017, at least eight people — six women and the parents of two others — told Guyer and Seattle police that Simone entangled women in a multistate sex trafficking scheme, with the promise of love and lucrative jobs, then coerced them into sex work in Seattle, New York, Portland, Las Vegas and other cities. Some of the alleged crimes dated back to 2012.
They said Simone required them to earn $1,000 a day, which he collected, isolated them from their families, tracked their movements and controlled their eating habits. Like Campbell, women told police they had been choked, beaten, threatened, raped and in some cases imprisoned for days in claustrophobic sleeping containers. Women told police Simone forced them to call him “master,” “king” or “God.”
Simone has denied these allegations. Police have never charged or arrested him for these alleged crimes.
Seattle’s handling of the allegations against Simone illustrate the complexity and consequences of failing to police sex trafficking. Washington was the first state to criminalize trafficking nearly 20 years ago. But law enforcement across the state, including Seattle, has struggled to use these statutes effectively and train officers to recognize and help trafficking victims. Prosecutions involving adult victims also have a higher burden of proof than for minors, and must show evidence of force, fraud or coercion.
Even as the #MeToo movement has taken hold nationwide, Angelica Campbell and other women, who spoke with The Seattle Times and KUOW, said their hours of police interviews felt like screaming into a void.
As their complaints languished with police, five women, including Campbell, filed a civil lawsuit in 2021 against Simone and his recording label, Black Umbrella, alleging that Simone conspired to “ensnare, imprison, and exploit” them for profit.
In September, they added the Seattle Police Department as a defendant for negligent investigation of their claims.