Rodney King in photos: The man whose police beating shone a light on racism in Los Angeles
RODNEY King has died. King became famous when he was beaten up by those fine upstanding men of the Los Angeles Police Department in 1991. They clubbed him more than 50 times with their batons. King says the police told him, “We are going to kill you nigger.” An amateur cameraman filmed the merciless brutality. King, who had been drinking while out on parole, had tried to outrun the police. Realising it was futile, he pulled over. He got out of his car. He was unarmed.
When the all-white jury cleared the four all-white police officers of behaving illegally when they beat up the black man, riots erupted. The mayhem led to 53 deaths.
Rodney King got a $3.8m payout. Two of the officers were later convicted.
King bought a place in Rialto, California. His body was found in the bottom of his swimming pool. He was 47.
In his memoir The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption, King noted:
“I sometimes feel like I’m caught in a vise. Some people feel like I’m some kind of hero. Others hate me. They say I deserved it. Other people, I can hear them mocking me for when I called for an end to the destruction, like I’m a fool for believing in peace.”
Rodney King, right, stands with his attorney Edi M.O. Faal in an Alhambra, California courtroom, Wednesday, August 16, 1995 for an appearance regarding his July 14 arrest for alleged domestic violence in Altadena, California. King, whose 1991 videotaped arrest and beating led to the nation's worst rioting after the 1992 acquittal of the officers involved, was released without a return date. A court source said prosecutors have not yet field a case against him. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)