Rodney King was a key African-American figure and a symbol of the problems of violence many African Americans face in the America. The severe beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police was caught on video, and sparked the largest riot in U.S. history.
The police had pulled over King for speeding and accused him of being “on drugs” and “aggressive.” The police then beat him in a dark street, hitting him more than 50 times, kicking him, and shooting him with stun guns, as a witness videotaped the entire incident.
The riot began after four police officers involved in the brutal beating that nearly killed King were acquitted of all charges. The riot – the largest in U.S. history – resulted in extensive property damage, and fifty-five people were killed and over 3,000 people were injured.
King garnered a $3.8 million settlement with the City of Los Angeles and the case led to sweeping changes in the LAPD. Nearly twenty years later, King had still not recovered from his serious personal injuries caused by the beating. King went on to become a record company executive and reality television star; he was also recently promoting his just-published memoir.
King had three children and was engaged to marry Cynthia Kelley, one of the jurors in the civil suit he brought against the city of Los Angeles. Kelley was the one who made the call to the police after she found 47 year-old King dead in the swimming pool.
An autopsy will be performed on his body, but the police do not believe there was any foul play in his death. The evidence points to a simple drowning death.
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