Rodney King dead at 47

“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 confirmed. He was 47,” as CNN is reporting.

“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 attempted to revive him. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital, DeAnda said.

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

“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.”

The rest of the article is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

3 thoughts on “Rodney King dead at 47”

  1. Indeed sad, as was the slice of his short life that captured the Nation’s attention. I lived in L.A.–in the Valley–when the verdict was announced, arriving home from work about the time the streets were heating up, and Denny was being pulled from his truck at Florence and Normandie. Watching Denny being mercilessly and cowardly thrashed, my gut tightened with as much outrage as watching Rodney King being savaged by the L.A. cops, unaware a camera was capturing a scene where the actors played their roles so expertly.

    The night was so reminiscent of the landscape of the plains of Vietnam, with pillars of smoke spewing and twisting across the vista. And as the sun set, pockets of reddish light dotted the city, as sirens wailed and chopper blades whooshed, turning Hollywood’s environs into a real life, but tragic, movie set.

    My best friend in the Marines was a black guy from Baltimore, Eddie Williams, KIA, when his tank hit a mine the last week of his tour. I made a special trip to D.C. and found his name on the Wall, and alone, I cried.

    They called for volunteers to help clean up while the people still smouldered along with crumpled buildingsfilled with glowing embers. I knew I had to go, and at five a.m. or so, threw a shovel in the back of my small Dodge pick-up, put a map besides me, and headed out for the AME church, mustering point closest to me. Exiting the freeway, I was in unchartered territory, early, the streets nearly void of people. But memories of my own carjacking experience, strong-arm robbery, big knife at my throat and repeated threats that I’ll be killed, but escaping–beaten and bloody–on my second dash for freedom, was all I needed to run every red light that dared tell me to stop. At last the turn for the AME church and a crowd of diversity was there holding brooms and shovels in their hands and gentleness in their eyes.

    Soon we boarded open-air army trucks and set out to flash point Florence and Normandie, trucks and jeeps filled with the National Guard speeding with us and past us and cops everywhere. In my truck, our group leader, Edward James Olmos, director and star of the brilliant American Me, calmly assigned duties. Just yards from where Denny was nearly stomped to death, we began to shovel, sweep, pick up bricks and debris as eyes with unspent anger torched us with fire and tongues relentless with adrenelin, delivered spiteful taunts. A column of red beret topped Guardian Angles stood guard until we climbed back onto the open truck, and headed for our next destination.

    And so it went that day, a war zone in the U.S. of A. But there were thousands of us undoing the disarray; white, black and brown, all worthy of renown. To me, that’s Stand Your Ground

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