Rodney King, whose brutal beating at the hands of Los Angeles police in 1991 led to widespread riots, was found dead this morning (June 17) at the bottom of a swimming pool. He was 47.
Fiancée Cynthia Kelley discovered King floating at the bottom of a pool in Rialto, Calif. at around 5.25am, according to reports. She called 911.
Police officers pulled King from the pool and attempted CPR, but he was pronounced dead after being take to a local hospital at 6:11 AM, according to gossip site TMZ.
King was unknown when he became involved in a high-speed chase after refusing to pull over for LAPD officers. His car was finally stopped and he was forced to the ground and savagely beaten by the officers.
The incident, including the beating, was captured on video by a bystander and because major international news. Outrage peaked when the four officers involved were acquitted by a jury.
The news ignited widespread rioting in Los Angeles that left more than 50 people dead. Two officers were later convicted of civil rights violations in federal court although two others were acquitted.
King became an international celebrity and won $3.8 million in damages from the city of Los Angeles. In a subsequentt autobiography, “The Riot Within,” King said his life was changed forever by the beating.
But the father of three could never escape his battle with alcoholism. He was arrested 11 times for domestic violence, assault, drug use and DUI in the years following the attack.
Police are expected to investigate the case as a drowning; so far foul play is not suspected.
Check out the beating video below.