Rodney King Dead at 47

Gabrielle Chung / June 17, 2012

Rodney King, a key figure in the Los Angeles riots, has passed away at 47.

According to the Rialto Police Department press release obtained by Celebuzz, King’s fiancée, Cynthia Kelly, found his unconscious body at the bottom of their pool and called the police at 5:25 a.m.

Officers at the scene pulled an unresponsive King out of the water and administered CPR, which was unsuccessful. Paramedics then arrived and transported King to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center in Colton, Calif., where he was pronounced dead at 6:11 a.m.

Rialto PD detectives are currently on scene to conduct a drowning investigation. Preliminary reports state that King’s death showed no signs of foul play.

His body will later be examined at the San Bernardino County Coroner’s Office.

King’s death comes more than two decades after he was brutally assaulted by Los Angeles police officers in 1991.

His beating was captured on tape by George Holliday, an onlooker who was out on his apartment balcony at the time, and submitted to local television station KTLA.

The cops involved — Sgt. Stacey Koon and officers Laurence Michael Powell, Timothy Wind, and Theodore Briseno — were later acquitted for the beating. Their acquittal ignited a race war in the streets of Los Angeles after their trial in 1992.


During the Los Angeles riots, thousands were injured and a total of 53 people died throughout the ordeal. The revolt caused approximately $1 billion in property damage.

“People, I just want to say, can we all get along?” King famously said during the riots. “Can we get along?”

His words later became the title of his autobiography, The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption. Learning How We Can All Get Along.