VIDEO: Rodney King found dead in California pool; drowning suspected
Rodney King catalyzed a city and a nation when a video of his beating at the hands of the Los Angeles Police was aired on local TV stations. On Sunday, he was found dead in a pool, believed to be a victim of drowning. King famously wondered, at the height of race riots in LA, why we couldn't all just get along.
Rodney King, the African-American whose beating at the hands of Los Angeles Police ignited violent race riots when a video of the beating was released the next year, was found dead in a swimming pool on Sunday.
He was 47.
According to The New York Times, King was found at the bottom of the pool by his fiancee, Cynthia Kelley, in Rialto, Calif., where King had been living. There were no signs of foul play, police said, but an autopsy will be conducted.
Police said King's death was being treated as a downing.
Kelley was a juror in a civil lawsuit King filed over the violence, the BBC reported. In a memoir King published, in 2012, he insisted that Kelley was helping him get on the right path with his life.
But the time from being thrust into the lime-light at least until his book was published was a rocky one.
The Times reported that he's had multiple arrests for DUI and has been in and out of rehabilitation centers for drug an alcohol abuse.
He "spent short stints in prison in the late 1990s for assaulting his ex-wife and daughter. In recent years he has appeared on the television shows “Celebrity Rehab” and “Sober Living” on VH1," the Times wrote.
King's beating eventually led to a trial of four, white, Los Angeles Police officers. When three were acquitted and a mistrial was declared for the fourth, the riots started, claiming 50 lives and causing over $1 billion in property damage.
At the height of the violence, King famously appeared on television and pleaded with everyone to "just get along."
He repeated those words in an interview with CBC's Q just last month.
King eventually received a $3.8 million settlement from the City of Los Angeles, but according to The Times, most of the money went to his attorneys.
"The Takeaway" is a national morning news program, delivering the news and analysis you need to catch up, start your day, and prepare for what's ahead. The show is a co-production of WNYC and PRI, in editorial collaboration with the BBC, The New York Times Radio, and WGBH Radio Boston.