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Rodney King

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Rodney King
King in April 2012
Rodney Glen King

April 2, 1965(1965-04-02)
Died June 17, 2012(2012-06-17) (aged 47)
Cause of death Drowning
Nationality American
Known for Criminal Brutality
Spouse(s) Crystal Waters (divorced),
Danetta King (divorced)
Partner(s) Cynthia Kelly (fiancée)
Children 3 daughters

Rodney Glen King (April 2, 1965 - June 17, 2012)[1] was an African-American man who was beat up by police officers on camera in 1991. When a jury did not find the officers guilty of beating him up, large riots started in Los Angeles, California.[2]

Early and personal life

King was born in Sacramento, California to Odessa and Ronald King, who had four other children. His father was an alcoholic who died in 1984 aged 42. King grew up in Altadena, California.[3]

In November 1989, King robbed a store in Monterey Park, California. King was carrying an iron bar, which he threatened the Korean store owner with. He hit the owner and stole $200. He was convicted of robbery and sentenced to two years imprisonment. He was released after a year.[4]


On May 3, 1991, King was driving after drinking alcohol. Police officers tried to pull him over, but King would not stop. The officers chased him for miles. King finally stopped. One of the officers shot two electronic darts at King because they thought he might hurt them. King ran at one of the officers. The officers beat King while he was on the ground with a baton more than 50 times.[5]

A man named George Holliday, who lived nearby, saw what was going on. He used a camcorder to record a video of the beating. The video later went on television.[6]

Trial and riots

Of the four officers that went on trial for beating King, only one of them was found guilty by the state of California. With large public protest, rioting began in Los Angeles, during which more than 50 people were killed, thousands were hurt, and one billion dollars worth of property damage occurred.[7]

In a different trial, the United States government later found two of the officers guilty.


King was found dead by his fiancée at the bottom of his swimming pool in the early morning hours of June 17, 2012 in Rialto, California. An autopsy was performed and the results said that King died of accidental drowning and that alcohol, cocaine, and marijuana were all found in his blood which were a contributing factor in his death.[8]

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