Rodney King: The Symbol of America’s Civil Rights Died at 47
Rodney King, whose video of beating by the police of Los Angeles in 1991 had sparked the worst ever riot in Los Angeles, was found dead on Sunday, June 17. According to the authority and his fiancée, Cynthia Kelly, he was found dead in the swimming pool of his new house at Rialto, Calif. He was 47-years-old.
The authority treats his death as a case of apparent drowning, as no sign of struggle or foul play has been detected. However, the investigating officer Captain Randy De Anda has said that the real cause would be known after getting the autopsy report. De Anda also said that King was in the water not more than 3-4 minutes between his fiancée’s calling the police and the officers’ arriving and pulling him from water. The police found him around 5.30am and took to the hospital. At 6.11am, he was announced dead.
The autopsy was conducted on Monday. However, officials said that it would take several weeks to detect the exact cause of his death. The officials at coroner will wait to get the result of toxicology analysis that could take up to six weeks to collect before determining how he died.
King became well-known after he was brutally beaten by the police of Los Angeles. In 1991, he was a young man of 25 years. At that time, he was on parole for a looting case. In March of that year, he led the police of Los Angeles on a speedy car chase and ended up being caught on a gloomy street. Four police officers started assaulting on him. They struck him with batons for more than fifty times, kicked him repeatedly, and used stun guns to shot him. The officers left him with eleven fractures on the skull, a wrecked eye socket, and damage of facial nerve.
A nearby resident captured the violence on video and later handled the footage to a TV station. The footage was repeatedly played over the following years that switched on the racial tensions all over the country.
While the first trial acquitted all the accused officers except one, the second trial after a year gave 30 months sentence to two officers and released the other two. King got $3.8 million as compensation. The verdict of the first trial triggered off a violent riot in Los Angeles led by African-American people. The riot continued for 3 days, cost the lives of 55 people and properties worth of $1 billion. On the third day, King’s pleading with the words, ‘Can we get along?’ helped to subside the riot.
Rodney King was almost an emblem of civil rights in America. He became a representative of the movement of anti-police violence and anti-racial profiling. His beating actually compelled America to give importance on the existence of profiling and misconduct of police.
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