Rodney King Dead of Apparent Drowning

The body of King, 47, was found in a swimming pool at his home in Rialto at 5:25 a.m. today, police said. His beating by police led to the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

Rodney King, a man whose police beating triggered urban riots and prompted law enforcement officer throughout Southern California to rush to Los Angeles County, died overnight in an apparent drowning.

King's fiancee found the 47-year-old in a swimming pool at his home at 5:25 a.m. today, Rialto police Capt. Randy DeAnda said.

"There were no obvious signs of trauma,'' the officer said. "Rialto police are conducting a drowning investigation at this time.''

King had apparently spoken with his fiancee in the minutes before she
discovered him lifeless in the pool behind their modest tract house in Rialto,
55 miles east of Los Angeles, police said. Rialto firefighters rushed King to
Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, where he was pronounced dead at

In an interview last April, King told the BBC that he was engaged to
marry Cynthia Kelley, whom he met as she sat as a juror in the civil lawsuit
that awarded King $3.8 million for his injuries at the hands of four Los
Angeles police officers in 1991.

King was catapulted to worldwide fame in when an amateur video
photographer named George Holliday heard police helicopters whirling over his
apartment, and picked up his new video camera to record the blurry images of
four LAPD officers kicking a motorist who had been pulled from his car.

Images telecast around the world sparked a tinderbox of tension in Los
Angeles, where inner city residents were already furious with law enforcement
over the killing of a black child by a Korean shopkeeper. Years of heavy-handed
police tactics had also bred deep-seated animosity.

When the four police officers were acquitted in a Simi Valley trial
in 1992, South Los Angeles erupted in riots. Fifty-three people were killed in
the violent looting, random assaults and protests that some called an "uprising,'' and that others called a complete breakdown of society.

King appeared on television after four days of fires and carnage,
pleading ``I just want to say, you know, can we -- can't we all just get

In an interview with National Public Radio last April, King said his
flight from police back in 1991 was caused by a desire to avoid a drunken
driving arrest on a night before he had to go to work.

"My family, everything that I had been working hard for since I'd been out of jail, my whole life was like flashed in front of me,'' King told NPR. "I made a bad mistake by running from them.''

King told interviewers last April that he had spent nearly all of the $3.8 million in civil judgments he had won against the LAPD, spending it on lawyers, relatives and himself.

King appeared at this spring's L.A. Times Festival of Books to promote his tome "The Riot Within: My Journey From Rebellion To Redemption.''

Attendees said he was hopeful and happy, but confessed to being a recovering
addict who suffers nightmares and flashbacks from the severe beating. But King also said he forgave the officers.


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