The officer said the police would stand down so long as the protestors remained peaceful

By Georgia Slater
June 02, 2020 09:54 AM
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As protests continue to erupt around the nation over the death of George Floyd, one Los Angeles police officer offered his support to the cause by taking a knee with the crowd.

During a protest on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood on Monday, police commander Cory Palka gestured that he understood the demonstrator's outrage over the killing of Floyd, who died after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes despite Floyd’s cries for help.

Chauvin has since been arrested for third-degree murder.

In a clip shared on Twitter by an ABC reporter, Palka is seen holding a megaphone to speak with the hundreds of protestors around him.

"If I take a kneel with you guys, will you give me your verbal acknowledgment that this is a peaceful matter?" he asked the crowd.

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The protestors cheered and began to chant, "Take a knee," as Palka put the megaphone down, bowed his head, and kneeled on the street.

As Palka remained on the ground, the entire crowd joined him in kneeling as a sign that they all understood one another.

Several protestors shared their appreciation for Palka's actions, including one person who reached out to shake Palka's hand.

"We stand together," Palka told the crowd before adding that the police would stand down so long as the protestors remained peaceful during the rest of the demonstration.

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"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?" he said as the protestors responded with cheers.

The solitary act came just hours before police in Washington D.C. employed tear gas and flash grenades to clear a route of protestors for President Donald Trump, who was heading to St. James church for a photo op. 

In video footage obtained by the New York Times on Monday, before the president's church photo, protesters can be seen fleeing as flash grenades ignite and tear gas fills the street — despite the fact that the demonstration had been peaceful.

At one point in the video, a demonstrator helps up another protester who had been pushed down by a police officer with his shield.

During an address from the White House Rose Garden earlier on Monday, Trump called himself the "president of law and order," and threatened to mobilize the U.S. military in response to ongoing protests across the nation over the death of Floyd.

To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:

•Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.

ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.

•National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.