The man whose videotaped beating at the hands of Los Angeles Police thugs sparked the L.A. riots of 1992 has died. RODNEY KING was found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool early Sunday morning. He was 47. His fiancée Cynthia Kelley called police at about 5:30 A.M., after finding his body.
Police pulled him out and administered CPR, but were unsuccessful. He was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 6:11. Rodney had just published a book in April called “The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption”. A rep for his publisher, Harper Collins, said, quote, “I spoke with him about a week ago. He was really happy, upbeat and engaged. We were talking about him doing college lectures. “He’d already gotten an offer from one college and we were hoping to get more. He was really excited. He loved talking to kids.” But according to TMZ, Rodney’s fiancée is telling her friends that he had been drinking all day Saturday, and smoked pot at some point during the day. He went to bed at 2:00 in the morning, but he woke her up three hours later by screaming in the backyard. He was naked. Cynthia reportedly went to get a phone, then heard a splash. She ran out to the backyard to find him in the bottom of the pool. The riot that ensued when the four LAPD officers who beat Rodney were acquitted caused $1 billion in property damage. Fifty-three people died and thousands more were injured.
Rodney later won $3.8 million in a civil suit against the city, but he was left with permanent brain damage from the beating. He was arrested several times in the ensuing years. In 1995, he was charged with hit-and-run for knocking his then-wife down with his car. He went on to become yet another not-so-successful graduate of DR. DREW’S “Celebrity Rehab” scam. His fiancée Cynthia Kelley was one of the jurors in his civil trial. If you don’t think Rodney King’s death was a tragedy, then consider this: In August, he was going to box JOSE CANSECO.