Early 1990’s cultural icon Rodney King has reportedly passed away at the age of 47 this weekend after being discovered dead in a California swimming pool.
Details on King’s shocking passing surfaced early Sunday (June 17) morning.
Rodney King, who came to symbolize racial tensions in the United States after his 1991 beating at the hands of police led to deadly riots in Los Angeles a year later, was found dead in a swimming pool on Sunday in Rialto, California, police said. He was 47. “Preliminary indications are that this is a drowning with no signs of foul play,” Rialto police said in a statement. King was discovered by his fiancée, said Rialto police Captain Randy De Anda. The San Bernadino County Coroner’s office will conduct an autopsy, authorities said. King’s death was reported to police Sunday morning in Rialto, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles. Police pulled his body from the swimming pool but were unable to resuscitate him, De Anda said. (Reuters)
An investigation centering on King having potentially drowned has started up.
Capt. Randy DeAnda told CNN that the Rialto Police Department received a 911 call from King’s fiance early Sunday morning. Police responded and found King unconscious at the bottom of the pool. He was transported to the Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. DeAnda said there were no signs of foul play and that police were conducting a drowning investigation. “Rodney King was a symbol of civil rights and he represented the anti-police brutality and anti-racial profiling movement of our time,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement. “It was his beating that made America focus on the presence of profiling and police misconduct.” (North Country Public Radio)
Last year, King spoke on being the victim to a racially-charged police attack in 1991.
An amateur cameraman caught the scene as four white police officers struck King more than 50 times with their wooden batons and used a stun gun on him. King said as the officers beat him, they yelled, “We are going to kill you, n***er,” although the officers denied using racial slurs. The video shows King cowering on the ground and attempting to crawl away as he is surrounded by a crowd of police officers. Four of them used their nightsticks to strike him. King was beaten nearly to death. Three surgeons operated on him for five hours. The video of the beating appeared on national television two days later, focusing attention on the issue of racially-motivated police brutality. (CNN)
Despite winning $3.8 million after suing the City of Los Angeles, King reportedly fell on hard times with his finances.
As for Rodney King himself, he got engaged to one of the jurors from his trial and published a book in 2012 titled “The Riot Within: My Journey From Rebellion to Redemption”. But he also struggled with drug and alcohol abuse and had several brushes with the law over the years, and he eventually lost all his money. The Los Angeles Police Department said that at this time it had no comment to make on the death of King, adding that the death had occurred in Rialto, out of its jurisdicton. (BBC)
Check out CNN’s coverage of Rodney King’s life below: