Rodney King Dead at 47
Rodney King, the man videotaped being beaten by LAPD officers in 1991, has died today. He was 47.
King was found at the bottom of his pool early Sunday morning, according to TMZ. CPR was attempted, but no further details of the incident have been released.
King entered the public consciousness due to a videotape made of him at a traffic stop. During the stop, King was Tasered and then beaten with batons for several minutes in an incident that many saw as police brutality.
The incident was videotaped by George Holliday, who lived in a nearby apartment. Holliday took the tape to local station KTLA when the police refused to investigate the incident, which set off a chain of events that ended with the officers acquitted of assault in a controversial trial, and Los Angeles exploding into riots over the verdict, causing $1 billion in property damage and leaving 53 dead.
The trial and riots redefined how police forces restrained alleged perpetrators and how police departments interacted with the community. It also began the trend of citizen journalism, as video cameras and still cameras became more widely available, and the refusal of the LAPD to review the tape made many members of the public suspicious of the police and how police departments handled criminal behavior by their own officers.
In the years afterward, King struggled with alcoholism and the psychological trauma of the beating, most notably on “Celebrity Addiction with Dr. Drew”, where, more than a decade later, King was finally able to return to the scene and discuss how the incident had affected him.
King is survived by his fiancee, Cynthia Kelley, and his three children. We at Townsquare Media extend our sincerest condolences to the King family during this difficult time.