Hollywood shine on top, checkered past underneath.
Hopefully Cory Palka enjoyed his 15 minutes of fame for his photo-op kneeling with Black Lives Matter protesters outside of Mayor Eric Garcetti’s residence, or maybe he was still riding high from doing the same thing in Hollywood.
To hear some people on social media tell it, he looked downright cuddly and relatable, taking the protesters’ calls to action of “DEFUND LAPD” and “PROSECUTE KILLER COPS” to heart.
But what Palka should be famous for are his ties to white supremacy and racist rhetoric while leading a large, violent, and militarized police force in Hollywood.
Let’s walk things back from the take-a-knee moment to 90 minutes or so earlier, when he arrived at the scene striding straight through a crowd of kneeling protesters on Irving Street like Jesus walking on water. You can tell just from looking at him that Palka’s a charismatic guy. He’s tall and good-looking for his 56 years, flashing a perfect white smile as he moved through the crowd.
And there’s a good reason you could see his teeth: throughout the entire action and his proximity to the close crowd, he never wore a mask. Now, he might be in the clear for contracting COVID-19 from the protesters, since he himself recovered from the virus weeks earlier and got another cute photo-op donating his needed plasma (although it is still unclear at this point as to whether or not former carriers can re-contract the virus after their recovery).
But even if that were the case, the crowd was not adequately protected from any virus-spreading particulates he might still be able to infect others with. In a time where the nature of human immunity to the novel coronavirus is still unknown, his refusal to wear a mask is reckless and thoughtless at best.
As concerning as his physical presence at a protest like this may be, his online presence is another thing entirely. Palka’s verified Twitter follows several suspect accounts, including Ann Coulter, Paul Joseph Watson, at least 15 accounts with #MAGA proudly posted in their bios (and even more white nationalists who are a bit more subtle about it), and LA for Trump — the latter featuring a classy avatar of Maxine Waters with her face crossed out.
So that made things all the more damning when Palka’s next viral hit of the day was during an interview with KTLA where he ended things by flashing a known white power sign: touching his thumb and forefinger together while leaving the rest of his fingers outstretched, also know as the “okay” symbol.
Now, there is the possibility this could have been completely innocuous and unintended by Palka. However, in recent years this hand symbol has been co-opted by white supremacists to first jokingly, then meaningfully, symbolize “white power.” The Anti-Defamation League has more information on this shift here.
And considering who Palka follows on Twitter, it’s unlikely he would have never heard of the connotation. Paul Joseph Watson even made a video mocking the subject.
So was it a purposeful trolling tactic by Palka to let white supremacists know he was one of them, or just an “okay” sign made by a clueless boomer? We can’t say for sure. Look at the evidence and draw your own conclusions, insidious or no.
Speaking of insidious, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention Palka’s ties to the Church of Scientology. Maybe not surprising, since the area he commands encompasses Hollywood, but Palka has been reported visiting the Scientology Celebrity Center often. There’s even pictures of him hanging up inside. We shouldn’t have to explain to you why Scientology is a bad thing, and a cop in their midst is even worse news, but there are plenty of documentaries you can watch to give you the rundown.
Honestly, we don’t have time to get into the every horrible thing Palka has done or has been accused of. If you want to learn more about Palka’s allegedly racist policing practices (including specifically targeting minority-serving establishments in Hollywood), then read through the Cory Palka tag on the incredible Michael Kohlhaas’s website.
Last, we’ll leave you with this little Palka tidbit. A search of Cory Palka’s private email account with which he used to conduct public business (obtained through the California Public Records Act) unearthed this gem of a Christmas Quiz from 2016, apparently written for his kids to play along with.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with an answer key (we’ll leave it up to the real Palka-heads to figure that out) but it does show that his family has some really weird Christmas tradition and also that Palka’s obsessed with Neil Diamond. You know, in case you were wondering.
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