Sacramento, CA – Back in the days gone by, the internet was just something used by the military and not for general consumption. With the advent of the internet, sites like YouTube enable people to upload their personal videos and share them with the world. But long before the YouTube videos, there was one video that went so viral it caused a riot.
Rodney King, the face that launched a thousand riots in Los Angeles back in 1991 passed away June 17, 2012. Cause: death by drowning. A tragic end to a sad life; a life that has been troubled by drugs, alcohol and crime.
Reports note that his fiancee, Cynthia Kelley, dialed 911. The paramedics arrived around 5:25 am PT, they transported him from the bottom of the pool and performed CPR. The efforts to revive him were futile and he was declared dead at 6:11 am PT.
Although he grew up in Pasadena, Rodney Glen King was born in Sacramento, CA. His father died at the age of 42 which probably left young Rodney without any father figure to guide him through life and one of the possible reasons why he was easily seduced to a life of crime.
The 1991 Events
In 1991, Rodney King was a twice divorced man who had fathered 3 children. On March 2, 1991, King had spent the evening drinking with his buddies while watching basketball at a friend’s house in Los Angeles. Afterwards, they drove home and took the I-210 but since he was intoxicated he was speeding. California Highway Patrol officers Tim and Melanie Singer spotted the speeding car and a chase started. To his own admonition, Rodney King stated that he refused to pull over while being chased by the officers since he knew that he was driving under the influence (DUI) he would end up breaking his parole on a prior robbery conviction.
After 8 miles and a high speed chase, the police were able to corner King’s car. His blood alcohol level was presumed to be 0.19 at the time of arrest based on the tests that were administered 5 hours later.
Due to his bizarre behavior during the time of arrest, the police shot him on the back with a Taser gun and started pouncing at him. Unbeknownst to the officers, George Holliday was videotaping the incident from his apartment at the intersection Foothill Blvd. and Osborne St.
He immediately contacted the police about what he had just witnessed but it was like talking to a brick wall. He instead sent a copy of the tape to a local television station KTLA which aired the video it in its brutal entirety. The rest as they say is history.
King sued the city of Los Angeles for negligence due to numerous bruises, lacerations, broken right ankle and a fractured facial bone that resulted from his beating. The personal injury and negligence settlement amounted to $3.8 million.
Back to the Present and Death by Drowning
From then on, Rodney King had become a household name but he still can’t get away from trouble. In 1993 and 2003 he was arrested again for DUI. But things were not always that bad, he seemed to exert effort to fight his demons by entering rehab in 2008. He even appeared on Dr. Drew’s show Celebrity Rehab and prior to his death his friends claimed was in good spirits and looking forward to an upcoming boxing match with Jose Conseco that was slated in August.
Although police believe the statement provided by King’s fiancée, Cynthia Kelly, some of his friends are having doubts about her side of the story. Kelly claimed she had gone to bed at 2 a.m. PT and at around 5:00 a.m. PT she was awoken by Rodney’s screams and she rushed to him saw him naked at the backyard and banging the glass and then she went to get her phone and heard a splash. According to her she went to the backyard and discovered him at the bottom of the pool and then she called the police. This article is not an episode of CSI but her story sounds very suspicious. How long does it take for a person to get to her phone? And why would he jump into the pool? How long does it take for a man to drown? It was 5AM and the police got there around 5:25 a.m. PT; sounds like a conspiracy?
Maybe the police just want this story to go away so they will not have to be dragged into the picture again like what happened in 1991? Is there something more sinister in Rodney King’s death? An investigation is being conducted on his drowning and until the autopsy reports come in we can only speculate.RIP Rodney, may you find peace and justice once and for all.