Rodney King, key figure in LA riots, dies at 47

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Associated Press

Posted on June 17, 2012 at 5:01 PM

Updated Sunday, Jun 17 at 5:02 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The black motorist whose videotaped beating led to riots in Los Angeles has died.

Police say Rodney King was pulled from a swimming pool at his California home early today and pronounced dead at a hospital. He was 47.

Police say the preliminary investigation indicates drowning, with no signs of foul play. Investigators will await autopsy results to determine whether drugs or alcohol were involved, but police say there were no alcoholic beverages or paraphernalia found near the pool.

The San Bernardino County coroner will perform an autopsy on King within 48 hours.

King's 1991 beating by Los Angeles police officers was caught on video by a bystander. When a suburban jury acquitted the officers in 1992, city residents rioted. Three days of violence left 55 people dead, more than 2,000 injured and swaths of Los Angeles on fire.

At the height of it, King made his famous plea on television: "Can we all get along?"

In the two decades since, King was arrested several times, mostly for alcohol-related crimes. He became a record company executive and a reality TV star, appearing on shows such as "Celebrity Rehab."

In an interview earlier this year with The Associated Press, King said he was a happy man.

%@AP Links

163-a-04-(Sergeant Richard Royce, Rialto Police Department, in AP interview)-"of foul play"-Rialto Police Sergeant Richard Royce says it appears King's death was accidental. (17 Jun 2012)

<<CUT *163 (06/17/12)>> 00:04 "of foul play"

161-a-07-(Sergeant Richard Royce, Rialto Police Department, in AP interview)-"a swimming pool"-Rialto Police Sergeant Richard Royce says police learned that Rodney King was dead from an early morning 9-1-1 call. (17 Jun 2012)

<<CUT *161 (06/17/12)>> 00:07 "a swimming pool"

162-a-10-(Sergeant Richard Royce, Rialto Police Department, in AP interview)-"6:11 this morning"-Rialto Police Sergeant Richard Royce says police officers were the first to arrive at Rodney King's home, where they removed his body from a swimming pool. (17 Jun 2012)

<<CUT *162 (06/17/12)>> 00:10 "6:11 this morning"

153-a-07-(Connie Rice, civil rights activist, in AP interview in April of this year)-"said that's it"-In April of this year Civil rights activist Connie Rice said the L.A. race riots were the result of decades of injustice toward black people. (17 Jun 2012)

<<CUT *153 (06/17/12)>> 00:07 "said that's it"

147-a-02-(Rodney King, in statement as the 1992 rioting unfolds)-"all get along"-In 1992, Rodney King appeals for an end to the violence. ((shortened version of cut 137)) (17 Jun 2012)

<<CUT *147 (06/17/12)>> 00:02 "all get along"

146-c-09-(Christopher Weber, AP correspondent)-"of foul play"-AP correspondent Christopher Weber reports it appears at this point in the investigation that Rodney King accidentally drowned. (17 Jun 2012)

<<CUT *146 (06/17/12)>> 00:09 "of foul play"

APPHOTO NY211: FILE - This April 13, 2012 file photo shows Rodney King posing for a portrait in Los Angeles. King, the black motorist whose 1991 videotaped beating by Los Angeles police officers was the touchstone for one of the most destructive race riots in the nation's history, has died, his publicist said Sunday, June 17, 2012. He was 47. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles, file) (13 Apr 2012)

<<APPHOTO NY211 (04/13/12)>>

APPHOTO NY214: FILE - This April 30, 1992 file photo shows looters running with stolen merchandise from a Payless Shoestore near the Crenshaw and Jefferson area of Los Angeles. Rodney King, the black motorist whose 1991 videotaped beating by Los Angeles police officers was the touchstone for one of the most destructive race riots in the nation's history, has died, his publicist said Sunday, June 17, 2012. He was 47. (AP Photo/Akili-Casundria Ramsess, file) (30 Apr 1992)

<<APPHOTO NY214 (04/30/92)>>

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