RIP: Rodney King, whose videotaped beating by four police officers eventually sparked violent riots in Los Angeles two decades ago, was found dead this morning at age 47. King’s fiance, Cynthia Kelly, called 911 at 5:25 am after discovering his body.
King was thrust into the national spotlight in March 1991 after a videotaped assaulted at the hands of LAPD officers Theodore Briseno, Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind and Sgt. Stacey Koon made headlines. The four officers were charged with assault with a deadly weapon and excessive use of force. Their acquittal on April 29, 1992 led to intense riots in Los Angeles, resulting in 53 deaths.
King fought a life-long battle with alcoholism, and had periodic run-ins with the law since the 1991 incident. He appeared on Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew and Sober House, in an attempt to get clean. An interview with The Associated Press earlier this year painted a picture of a changed man:
America’s been good to me after I paid the price and stayed alive through it all. This part of my life is the easy part now.