Rodney King Found Dead at 47

FILED TO: Media and Entertainment

Rodney King: Symbol of Civil Rights Struggle


Los Angeles (CNN) — Rodney King, whose beating by Los Angeles police in 1991 was caught on camera and sparked riots after the acquittal of the four officers involved, was found dead in his swimming pool Sunday, authorities and his fiancee said. He was 47.

Police in Rialto, California, received a 911 call from King’s fiancee, Cynthia Kelly, about 5:25 a.m., said Capt. Randy DeAnda. Responding officers found King at the bottom of the pool, removed him and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until paramedics arrived. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital, police said.

There were no preliminary signs of foul play, DeAnda said, and no obvious injuries on King’s body. Police are conducting a drowning investigation, he said, and King’s body would be autopsied.

“His fiancee heard him in the rear yard,” he said, and found King in the pool when she went outside.

Kelly was a juror in King’s lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles in 1994.

King’s beating after a high-speed car chase and its aftermath forever changed Los Angeles, its police department and the dialogue on race in America.

“Rodney King was a symbol of civil rights and he represented the anti-police brutality and anti-racial profiling movement of our time,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement. “It was his beating that made America focus on the presence of profiling and police misconduct.”

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