Rodney King, victim of 1991 videotaped beating by LAPD, found dead

By: CBS News, The Associated Press
By: CBS News, The Associated Press

Sunady, June 17, 2012

RIALTO, Calif. (CBS/AP) -- Rodney King, whose beating by police officers in 1991 was captured on videotape, exacerbating racial tensions in Los Angeles, has been found dead. He was 47.

Rialto Police Capt. Randy De Anda told KNX Newsradio that about 5:25 a.m. on Sunday, the police department received a 911 call from King's fiancee who reported that he was found in the bottom of his swimming pool.

"Rialto police officers responded to the location and removed him from inside of the pool and began CPR," De Anda said. "The Rialto Fire Department paramedics responded and transported Mr. King to the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead at 6:11 a.m.

"It appears there was some verbal contact with the fiancee at which time she went outside and she found him at the bottom of the pool," De Anda said, adding that Rialto police are conducting a drowning investigation.

Preliminary information showed no signs of foul play, he said.

King became known worldwide in 1991 when a videotape recording of his beating and arrest by LAPD officers was made public. King was stopped for speeding in the San Fernando Valley on the night of March 3, 1991, and was beaten by four officers who hit and kicked him, and used a stun gun.

George Holliday, a plumber, was awakened by the traffic stop outside his home and recorded the encounter with a video camera. Its broadcast led to outrage, and charges against the police officers.

The following year the officers were acquitted by a predominantly white jury. Anger over the decision sparked a riot that left 55 people dead and more than 2,000 injured.

During a news conference at the time of the riots, King poignantly pleaded, "Can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it horrible for the older people and the kids?"

In the years since, King has been arrested numerous times, mainly for alcohol-related crimes, and has made several attempts at rehabilitation, including an appearance on television's "Celebrity Rehab."

He received a $3.8 million settlement from the city, but recently told The Associated Press much of that money was lost to bad investments.

This past spring King was on a book tour promoting his just-published memoir, "The Riot Within: My Journey From Rebellion to Redemption."

(Copyright CBS, The Associated Press)

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