Who is Rodney King?
Rodney King is an American male who was brutally beaten by Los Angeles police in 1991. His face became the mark of the continuation of racial tensions over the nation. After that video was released and the police were acquitted, it caused a week full of deadly riots. Many referred to him as the reluctant “countercultural hero”.
This Sunday, Mr. King was found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool at his home in Rialto, California. He was only 47 years of age.
Mr. King’s life was taken over by drug and alcohol abuse, multiple arrests, and unwanted fame. Although, he stood for peace, things spiraled out of control. More than 55 people died and over 600 buildings were destroyed in the midst of the violence.
Mr. King is known for making a statement that later became a part of American culture. At a conference he asked, “Can we all get along?” in an attempt to mend the animosity among races so another is caught up in the crossfire like he was in 1991.
Before his death, he had made it clear that things were hard. In April, he told The Los Angeles Time, “People look at me like I should have been like Malcolm X or Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks.” He adds, “I should have seen life like that and stay out of trouble, and don’t do this and don’t do that. But it’s hard to live up to some people’s expectations.” Mr. King published a memoir back in April, and said in many interviews that he had not been able to find steady work.
Mr. King once blamed politicians for “taking a battered and confused addict and trying to make him into a symbol for civil rights.” Unfortunately, he was unable to shake off that role he received. On Sunday, the Rev. Al Sharpton said, “History will record that it was Rodney King’s beating and his actions that made America deal with the excessive misconduct of law enforcement.”
It has been 20 years since his beating and response – “Can we all get along?” – but recent cases like the killing of teenager Trayvon Martin show that the lessons of King’s brutal beating by LAPD remain unlearned. Rev. Jesse Jackson and other civil rights leaders agree.
Recently, Mr. King embraces his role becausehis beating and the beatings of those before him paved the way for blacks to succeed and “make the world a better place.”
He had admitted that he continued to use drugs and drink alcohol but insisted that with his fiancée, Cynthia Kelly, he was only the road to reclaiming his life.
Tragically, police responded to a call around 5:25 AM. Arriving to the scene and physically removing Mr. King from the pool and attempting CPR. They pronounced him dead around 6:11 AM.
Check out the video of his brutal beating in 1991. [GRAPHIC]
We keep his family, friends, and the entire black community in our prayers as this unfortunate event unravels.
Rest in Peace, Rodney Glen King
April 2, 1965 – June 17, 2012