LAPD officers take a knee to show solidarity with protesters

In the midst of massive, angry crowds, some LAPD officers have made gestures of solidarity with protesters.

Tuesday, June 2, 2020
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In the midst of massive, angry crowds, some LAPD officers have made gestures of solidarity with protesters.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- In the midst of massive, angry crowds, some Los Angeles Police Department officers have sought to make gestures of solidarity with protesters.

At two different events on Monday, in Hollywood and downtown LA, officers took a knee in front of protesters, a sign that they understand the outrage over the death of George Floyd.

On Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, Commander Cory Palka got on a megaphone and spoke with protesters who surrounded him.

"If I take a knee with you guys will you give me your verbal acknowledgement that this is a peaceful rally," Palka asked the protesters.

They cheered and shouted and chanted "Take a knee, take a knee."

Palka paused, and put one knee on the ground and bowed his head briefly as the crowd cheered. Some reached out to shake his hand.

"We stand together," Palka said.

In exchange, he asked the crowd to peacefully disperse when it was time.

"Within the next 30, 40 minutes if you peacefully go out and return to where you came from, I give you my commitment and honor that you will not see police officers in front of you. Fair enough?"

About an hour later, as a county-wide curfew took effect, many of the protesters had cleared out. Smaller groups of individuals remained in the area - and some looting was seen nearby - but the main crowd dispersed.

Some groups of protesters also remained on the move in nearby neighborhoods after the 6 p.m. curfew.

Palka was in the public spotlight only two weeks earlier after he recovered from COVID-19 and sought to help other patients by donating plasma to the Red Cross.

RELATED: LAPD commander who recovered from COVID-19 donates plasma

A similar scene played out in downtown Los Angeles.

Officers stood in a row guarding City Hall. But several of them, who were wearing riot helmets, took a knee with the protesters lined up in front of them. The crowd cheered and they briefly exchanged fist bumps.

LAPD Commander Gerald Woodyard tweeted alongside video of the moment: "Part of the healing process for our city is to lend support for those who show up to voice their grievances and do so in a peaceful way. In solidarity with our community members, we want you to know that #LAPD will ALWAYS support peaceful and lawful protest. #IamLA #HealLA."