Today we have learned that Rodney King, the man known for being the videotaped victim in the infamous L.A. Riots in 1991, has died at the age of 47.
According to CNN, King’s fiancée, Cynthia Kelly called the police around 5:25 a.m. PT. King was found at the bottom of the pool when police arrived on the scene. King was pronounced dead at a local hospital shortly thereafter.
It all started as a high speed chase in southern California, when King was being pursued by L.A. police officers at high speeds. The chase lasted eight miles before King was cornered. That is when the action began. The camera was rolling on seven police officers at the scene, some standing by as others were excessively beating King with their batons.
Four of the seven officers were tried in state court. With not one black person on the jury, three white and one Hispanic police officer were acquitted. That day was the beginning of six days of chaos.
From April 29 – May 4, 1992, 53 people died, two thousand were injured, and over three thousand fires were set. Nearly a billion dollars in damages occurred.
One of the more historic events was the beating of Reginald Oliver Denny by “The L.A. Four.” Denny, a 33-year-old white construction truck driver was ripped from his truck at a stop light and brutally beaten. In an interview 20 years after the event, Denny talked about his nerve damage and hearing loss from that tragic day.
Two of those officers were charged in federal court less than a year later and the other two were acquitted. The court decided that they violated King’s civil rights and were sentenced to two and a half years in prison. King ended up getting $3.8 million dollars in the settlement. This case led to many changes across the nation and especially in the L.A. area.