Mr. King was beaten within an inch of his life by several policemen after a traffic stop. The beating was caught on tape by a resident of the area where King was stopped. The officers who actually participated in the actual beating were put on trial.
The trail ended in acquittal of all the policemen. LA and surrounding communities went up in smoke. The death toll was 53 with thousands injured, over 5,000 fires were set, communities as far away as West Covina and Montclair were affected. The damage was estimated to be in the billions.
Local gangs in Pomona and other cities were prevented from making the riots spread by evacuating malls and places that would make good targets. (I worked near the Montclair Mall and I can tell you it was horrifying.)
California and the rest of the world watched the riots live on TV. One of the worst events during the riots was actually what exacerbated the riot. A truck driver by the name of Reginald Denny, who was pulled from his semi and beaten so badly the audience watching on TV though he was dead, until he stood up and was beaten some more. He did survive, but sustained injuries that left him permanently disabled.
The policemen were finally brought to justice by a federal trial. In a civil lawsuit Rodney King was awarded over 3 million dollars.
Rodney King obviously still had some drug issues as he appeared on "Celebrity Rehab a few years back."
Unfortunately, this was not the end of the Rodney King saga. In the past 20-years since the riots King has run afoul of the police many times. Domestic trouble, drugs and other problems haunted King.
King was found floating at the bottom of his pool by his fiance at 5:35 a.m. this morning. The police and emergency units were called and performed CPR to no avail. King was pronounced dead at 6:11 a.m. The police report that it doesn't look like there was any foul play, but an autopsy is being considered.
Several news outlets are reporting that King smoked weed and drank alcohol before going into the pool. It's unclear to me if he was drinking, but he did have a perscription for medicinal marijuana.
Rodney leaves behind his fiance and three children from his first marriage.
I hope Rodney King can now rest in peace as his life was full of trials and tribulations.