Rodney King, the man whose 1991 beating by Los Angeles police was caught on video and triggered widespread protests after the officers involved were acquitted, was found dead in his home swimming pool June 17. He was 47.
According to multiple media reports, King’s fiancée found him at the bottom of the pool shortly after 5 a.m. and called police, who were unable to revive him. According to CNN, Rialto, Calif. police said no signs of foul play were apparent, and a drowning investigation is underway with an autopsy planned.
King was stopped for speeding on a Los Angeles street on March 3, 1991, and four LAPD officers hit him more than 50 times with wooden batons, kicked him, and used a stun gun on him. Video of the incident was captured by a local resident and was aired frequently following the incident.
In April 1992, a Simi Valley, Calif. jury which included no Black members acquitted three of the officers in the beating, while a mistrial was declared for the fourth, setting off violent riots in South Los Angeles.
According to the Associated Press, in the years since the riots King was arrested several other times, became a record company executive and a reality TV star, with a role on the show “Celebrity Rehab.” According to The Los Angeles Times, King called himself a recovering addict but had not stopped drinking and possessed a license for medical marijuana.
Before his death, King told CNN he had forgiven the officers who beat him.
“Yes, I’ve forgiven them, because I’ve been forgiven many times,” he said. “My country’s been good to me…This country is my house, it’s the only home I know, so I have to be able to forgive, for the future, for the younger generation coming behind me, so…they can understand it and if a situation like that happened again, they could deal with it a lot easier.”