Rodney King’s violent beating, which was caught on camera, led to six days of riots in Los Angeles after the four LAPD officers who beat him were acquitted in court.
According to King’s representative, he was found at the bottom of his pool by his fiancée. Rialto police captain Randy De Anda said emergency personnel tried to revive the 47-year-old, but he was later pronounced dead at a local hospital. So far, according to the police, there are no indications of foul play.
On March 3, 1991, King was beaten by Los Angeles Police Department officers after a high-speed car chase. Their actions turned into an infamous case of police brutality that was captured on camera by a bystander and broadcast around the world.
The video shows four white officers striking King more than 50 times with their batons and using a stun gun on him. King alleged during the trial that they also used racial slurs during the attack – an allegation all the officers denied. The beating left King fighting for his life, and it took three surgeons hours to save him.
The video appeared on national television two days later, focusing attention on the issue of racially-motivated police brutality.
“We finally caught the Loch Ness Monster with a camcorder,” King’s attorney Milton Grimes said.
The four officers were tried for assault by an all-white jury in a predominantly white suburb of Los Angeles and were acquitted, a decision that sparked the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
For six days, rioters ran through the streets of LA, torching buildings and looting businesses. The almost week-long violence was responsible for over 50 deaths and more than $1 billion in damages.
Nearly a year after the riots, two of the officers were found guilty of civil rights violations in a federal court and jailed. The other two officers were again acquitted. King, who also sued the city of Los Angeles, was awarded $3.8 million in damages.
In recent interviews, he said he had forgiven the officers for the attack.