Rodney King Dead: Victim in 1991 LAPD Police Brutality Case, Has Died

PHOTO: Rodney King poses for a portrait in Los Angeles, in this April 13, 2012 photo.
Share
Copy

Rodney King, the man who was at the center of the Los Angeles police brutality case that later sparked the Los Angeles riots has died. He was 47.

Suzanne Wickman, a representative for King confirmed to KABC that Rodney King passed away Sunday.

King's fiancee found him at the bottom the swimming pool at his home in Rialto, Calif., at around 5:25 a.m. today.

"She was inside the residence, had been sleeping and Mr. King had been carrying conversations with her from the rear patio poolside," said Capt. Randy DeAnda with the Rialto Police Department said. "And at about 5:25 am this morning, she had heard him speaking to her. She got up to go outside to talk with him, at which time she found him at the bottom of the pool.

"She did try to save him," DeAnda said. "However, she is not a good swimmer and chose to dial 911 and call the police department."

When police and paramedics arrived they were unable to revive him.

King was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, where he was pronounced dead at 6:11 a.m., KABC-TV reported.

There were no signs of foul play, police said, and the San Bernardino County Coroner's Office will conduct toxicology tests on King as they attempt to determine cause of death.

"We have no other information or any other evidence that would lead us to believe this was not a drowning," DeAnda said.

King was beaten by the Los Angeles Police Department following a 1991 DUI traffic stop. The violent beating, during which four cops hit and kicked King more than 50 times, was filmed by a man who saw the incident from his home.

The tape was given to a Los Angeles TV station, and quickly became a national phenomenon.

The case came to trial in 1992, but the white policemen involved in King's beating were acquitted, igniting deadly riots in Los Angeles.

PHOTOS: Los Angeles Riots: 20 Years Later

King made this famous plea for peace following the acquittal: "I just want to say -- can we all get along? Can we get along?"

The riots left more than 50 people dead and caused about $1 billion in damage.

King received a $3.8 million settlement from the city, but that did not set his life on a smooth path. He has said he invested the money badly and lost most of it, and has been arrested numerous times.

Rodney King Timeline: Life After the Los Angeles Riots

He has struggled with substance abuse, and even made an appearance on TV reality show "Celebrity Rehab."

In April, King released his memoir, "The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption."

Earlier this year, reflecting on the 20th anniversary of the Los Angeles riots that made him famous, King said he was still trying to find a way to lead a good life.

"I've learned from all of my mistakes. I am a work in process. I'm constantly working on myself, knowing what my limits are and feeling comfortable with me," King said.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
Newborns at this hospital on Christmas Day get the special stockings as a keepsake.
Magee-Womens Hospital at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
PHOTO:
Zillow | Inset: Larry Marano/Getty Images
PHOTO: Anthony Lemons glances to family and friends at the Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court
Marvin Fong/The Plain Dealer/AP Photo