Rodney King, Beaten By L.A. Police, Found Dead at Home
We are very sad to hear this because in recent news, he was embarking on a new life that seemed promising for him. We wish all of his family our condolences.
NOTE: Read UPDATES at the bottom of page.
Rodney King, whose 1991 beating at the hands of police led to deadly riots in Los Angeles the following year, was found dead in a swimming pool on Sunday in Rialto, California, police said.
Suzanne Wickham of Harper Collins, who published King’s 2012 book “The Riot Within- My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption,” confirmed his death. His book was published this year in April.
King, 47, whose beating was captured on video by a bystander, was discovered by his fiancée, Rialto police Captain Randy De Anda 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.
The Rialto police department is conducting a drowning investigation and De Anda said there were no preliminary signs of foul play.
King became a national figure in discussions on race and police brutality after he and some friends were stopped by Los Angeles police on March 3, 1991, after a high-speed chase.
King was beaten by baton-wielding officers while a bystander filmed them. When the officers were cleared of brutality charges, riots broke out in Los Angeles, resulting in 53 deaths and an estimated $1 billion in damage.
UPDATE on June 18, 2012 at 9 a.m.: News reports state Rodney King’s fiancee’ Cynthia Kelly said King was drinking and smoking marijuana all day on Saturday; a day before she found him dead in his swimming pool.
She also detailed the events before his death. Kelly stated she went to bed around 2 a.m. and was awakened by Rodney King’s screams around 5 a.m. from the backyard. She picked up the phone to make a call and heard a ‘loud splash’, she says. She then ran to the pool and found King at the bottom of the pool.
Consequently, reports state Cynthia Kelly said King was an avid swimmer.
According to CNN, his death is being treated as a drowning and an autopsy will be performed on his body by the The San Bernardino County coroner within 48 hours.
UPDATE on June 18, 2012 at 6 p.m.: According to LA Times: Next-door neighbor Sandra Gardea, 31, said she heard commotion in King’s backyard early Sunday morning. Gardea said about 3 or 3:30 a.m. she heard someone sobbing.
“It’s wasn’t like an argument,” Gardea said. “She was just saying, ‘Get in the house. Get in the house.’”
Gardea, whose open bedroom window faces King’s house, said then there was silence. A few minutes later, Gardea said she heard a splash.
Another neighbor said she did not hear anything even though she was out feeding her cats around 3:30 a.m. that morning. She said it was not uncommon for King to be swimming late night or early morning. She said he loved swimming in the dark.