Rodney King, whose beating led to LA riots in 1992, dies at age 47

Fiance found him at bottom of pool at home

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LOS ANGELES — Rodney King, the black motorist whose 1991 videotaped beating by Los Angeles police officers was the touchstone for one of the most destructive race riots in the nation's history, died Sunday. He was 47.

King's fiancé called 911 at 5:25 a.m. to report she found him at the bottom of the swimming pool at their home in Rialto, Calif., police Lt. Dean Hardin.

Officers arrived to find King unresponsive in the water, Hardin said. He was transported to Arrowhead Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 6:11 a.m.

There were no signs of foul play, Hardin said. The San Bernardino County coroner will perform an autopsy within 48 hours.

The 1992 riots, which were set off by the acquittals of the officers who beat King, lasted three days and left 55 people dead, more than 2,000 injured and swaths of Los Angeles on fire. At the height of the violence, King pleaded on television: "Can we all get along?"

King was stopped for speeding on a darkened street on March 3, 1991. Four Los Angeles police officers hit him more than 50 times with their batons, kicked him and shot him with stun guns.

A man who had quietly stepped outside his home to observe the commotion videotaped most of it and turned a copy over to a TV station. It was played over and over for the following year, inflaming racial tensions across the country.

It seemed that the videotape would be the key evidence to a guilty verdict against the officers, whose trial was moved to the predominantly white suburb of Simi Valley, Calif. Instead, on April 29, 1992, a jury with no black members acquitted three of the officers; a mistrial was declared for a fourth.

Violence erupted immediately, starting in South Los Angeles.

Police, seemingly caught off-guard, were quickly outnumbered by rioters and retreated. As the uprising spread to the city's Koreatown area, shop owners armed themselves and engaged in running gun battles with looters.

During the riots, a white truck driver named Reginald Denny was pulled by several black men from his cab and beaten almost to death. He required surgery to repair his shattered skull, reset his jaw and put one eye back into its socket.

The police chief, Daryl Gates, came under intense criticism from city officials who said officers were slow to respond to the riots. He was forced to retire. Gates died of cancer in 2010.

In the two decades after he became the central figure in the riots, King was arrested several times, mostly for alcohol-related crimes. He later became a record company executive and a reality TV star, appearing on shows such as "Celebrity Rehab."

In an interview earlier this year with The Associated Press, King said he was a happy man.

"America's been good to me after I paid the price and stayed alive through it all," he says. "This part of my life is the easy part now."

Comments (16) Add comment
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rmwhitley
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rmwhitley 06/17/12 - 11:56 am
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Your
Unpublished

typical "African-American" hero! Rest in the same peace you created.

Retired Army
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Retired Army 06/17/12 - 01:37 pm
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This oughta get interesting.

This oughta get interesting. Sean, I sure hope it doesn't upset your Fathers Day activities.

specsta
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specsta 06/17/12 - 02:20 pm
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R.I.P. Rodney King.

R.I.P. Rodney King.

csrareader
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csrareader 06/17/12 - 05:09 pm
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I can't remember

And it really doesn't matter anymore, but why was he running from the cops that infamous night? Why were they chasing him?

Patty-P
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Patty-P 06/17/12 - 05:20 pm
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csra he was speeding.

csra he was speeding.

southern2
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southern2 06/17/12 - 07:49 pm
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If Obama had a son, he would

If Obama had a son, he would look like Rodney King.

Patty-P
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Patty-P 06/17/12 - 09:04 pm
8
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I knew this article would

I knew this article would have a nasty comment regarding race or Obama. It never fails.

twolane
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twolane 06/17/12 - 09:29 pm
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good grief
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he was fleeing and eluding the police they had to chase him down and when they finally stopped him hetried to fight...guess folks forget he was high on just about everything from alcohol to who knows what

twolane
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twolane 06/17/12 - 09:30 pm
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and even after that he
Unpublished

and even after that he continued to drive drunk and do dope but oh well who cares all those rioters didnt do anything but burn down their own homes and businesses like they always do lol

owensjef3
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owensjef3 06/18/12 - 02:48 am
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They can't help it Patty, and
Unpublished

They can't help it Patty, and it gets a thumbs up.

Patty-P
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Patty-P 06/18/12 - 05:55 am
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I've come to know what to

I've come to know what to expect from the people of Augusta. Sad really.

nocnoc
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nocnoc 06/18/12 - 06:15 am
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Lets not go made this guy out to be some hero.

Lets not go and made this guy out to be some hero.

Mr. King was a known serious alcohol and drug user, who had serious run ins with the law prior to the incident that made him infamous. He was out on parole for an armed robbery, where he had threaten to kill a store owner. He got 2 years and was out in 1 and on parole when this happened. (a good / bad example of early release programs.)

Maybe I am part of that small group of Americas that took the time to view the whole unedited video and not the made for TV edited version that quickly excited racial tensions across the world.

Sure the police made some really seriously stupid mistakes after chasing him for 8 miles through community streets at up to 80mph.

But of the 3 people in the vehicle, ONLY he refused to submit to arrest. ONLY he fought and resisted officers, which lead to them to tasering him a few times, and beating him to subdue him. ONLY he continued to resisted arrest. Which is likely where the police went into tunnel vision with an focused objective of total submission. Only he, despite several broken bones continued to resist arrest.

Maybe R. King did so because he was worried he was going back to prison for violating his parole for Arm Robbery. Maybe he was worried of the new charges he faced: felony DUI, felony eluding, resisting arrest, reckless endangerment, and at least a few more serious charges. Note: none of which he was ever charged with in fear of more riots. Maybe he was seeking martyrdom, or suicide by police.

Either way he sued LA and made $$$ millions, which he then proceeded to waste like he did with his life.

MORE IMPORTANTLY

Let us not forget his Alcohol and drug abuse lead to over 54 deaths, 2,300+ injuries, 7,000+ fires, 3000+ business damaged and about $950 million in losses in just LA. Then add in the smaller riots that occurred in other cities, like Atlanta, Georgia.

The only good thing thing that came out of this incident was that Calif. eliminated the 3 day waiting period for firearms. Which kept citizens and store owners from protecting themselves during the riots.

A WHOLE HISTORY

Wiki seems to gave a pretty good whole picture of R.King and I invite others to review a more complete picture of his past history. Including his numerous arrests and convictions after the beating incident.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rodney_King

No Rodney King was no hero. He was just another Media Thug, famous for some seriously stupid mistakes. The events he set in motion were paid for by many innocent people. Like Reginald Denny, the dump truck driver who was pulled from his truck, beaten and crippled for the rest of his life.

Techfan
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Techfan 06/18/12 - 06:51 am
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Yeah, plus his head and ribs

Yeah, plus his head and ribs did major damage to the fists, boots, and billy clubs of the police.

KSL
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KSL 06/18/12 - 07:24 am
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You just can't handle the

You just can't handle the truth, can you, tech?

stillamazed
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stillamazed 06/18/12 - 08:00 am
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He was no hero,,,,,,,,,,

Rodney King was no hero, I totally agree with nocnoc on this one! I am not at the least surprised to hear he is dead. When he got all that money he had the opportunity to change his life and chose not to.

allhans
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allhans 06/18/12 - 08:25 am
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His was a life filled with

His was a life filled with drama...even unto the end.

CobaltGeorge
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CobaltGeorge 06/18/12 - 08:26 am
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nocnoc

I just love True Americans like you that can put it out there without using destroying Political Correctness. Very good post.

It is a shame to get a post following yours. Some can't live without that racist attitude.

CobaltGeorge
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CobaltGeorge 06/18/12 - 08:30 am
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nocnoc

I just wish I could raise your points to 399....

iLove
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iLove 06/18/12 - 08:34 am
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a comment from Huffington Post.com
Unpublished

"In spite of what I originally thought of him, Rodney King was the only person I've ever seen come out of a race related incident with a voice of reason. He could have found much fame and been idolized by many in the black community had he used his situation to divide us even more than we are but he didn't. I've read articles on him since then and never once saw him go in that direction. As a recovering addict I'm very aware of what he went through and it's a shame because he struck me as a gentle man unlike the way he was portrayed. So regardless of the source of his fame and in spite of whatever caused his death I think Rodney King is owed respect by those of us who looked down on him only to find his was a voice of reason in a turbulent time and the only voice of reason."

KSL
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KSL 06/18/12 - 08:38 am
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Wait a minute. The only voice

Wait a minute. The only voice of reason?

iLove
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iLove 06/18/12 - 08:39 am
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KSL
Unpublished

"...I've ever seen"

KSL
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KSL 06/18/12 - 11:25 am
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I hardly think his voice was

I hardly think his voice was the "only voice of reason." Poetic license?

Southern Leslie
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Southern Leslie 06/18/12 - 12:18 pm
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KSL...Tech hates the truth.
Unpublished

KSL...Tech hates the truth. The other day after I informed him that you can't build a reactor without reactor fuel, his response was "Iraq had uranium that they couldn't use" becasue they had yet to assemble it into a reactor....something they could have NEVER done without the uranium.

marien
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marien 06/18/12 - 01:01 pm
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In the words of the late

In the words of the late Rodney King. "Can We All Just Get Along".

owensjef3
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owensjef3 06/18/12 - 03:14 pm
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All they did was announce his
Unpublished

All they did was announce his death, who was making him a hero. Why is it necessary to denounce this man at the announcement of his death?

Bravo Bravo

owensjef3
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owensjef3 06/18/12 - 03:15 pm
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I guess that long story
Unpublished

I guess that long story justifed his beating

Southern Leslie
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Southern Leslie 06/19/12 - 06:46 am
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No, owensjef.....his running
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No, owensjef.....his running from the police and resisting arrest justified his beating.

owensjef3
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owensjef3 06/19/12 - 05:41 pm
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No It did not , the police
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No it did not , the police are the good guys, and if you think that, I hope you are not a policemen, or teacher or any person that should be an a moral or ethical position.

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