June 17, 2012 9 Comments
*(Via CNN) – Rodney King, whose beating by Los Angeles police in 1991 was caught on camera and sparked riots after the acquittal of the four officers involved, was found dead in his swimming pool Sunday, authorities and his fiancee said. He was 47.
Police in Rialto, California, received a 911 call from King’s fiancee, Cynthia Kelly, about 5:25 a.m., said Capt. Randy DeAnda. Responding officers found King at the bottom of the pool, removed him and attempted to revive him. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital, DeAnda said.
There were no preliminary signs of foul play, he said, and no obvious injuries on King’s body. Police are conducting a drowning investigation, DeAnda said, and King’s body would be autopsied.
Rodney King: What happened in 1991
“His fiancee heard him in the rear yard,” he said, and found King in the pool when she went outside.
Kelly was a juror in King’s lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles in 1994.
King’s beating after a high-speed car chase and its aftermath forever changed Los Angeles, its police department and the dialogue on race in America.
“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.”
King was 25 and on parole after a robbery conviction in March 1991. In an interview in 2011, he recalled he had been drinking and was headed home from a friend’s house when he saw a police car following him and panicked, thinking he would be sent back to prison. So he attempted to flee.
“I had a job to go to that Monday, and I knew I was on parole, and I knew I wasn’t supposed to be drinking, and I’m like ‘Oh, my God,’” he told CNN.
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