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 US history, has died, his publicist says.
King was 47.
King's death was confirmed to the Associated Press news agency on Sunday by Suzanne Wickham of Harper Collins, who published King's 2012 book The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption.
His fiancee found his body at the bottom of a swimming pool, but there was no sign of foul play, the BBC reported.
The 1992 riots, set off by the acquittals of the officers, lasted three days and left 55 people dead, more than 2,000 injured and portions of Los Angeles on fire.
At the height of the violence, King pleaded on television: "Can we all get along?"
King was stopped for speeding on a darkened street on March 3, 1991. Four Los Angeles police officers hit him more than 50 times with their batons, kicked him and shot him with stun guns.
A man who had quietly stepped outside his home to observe the commotion videotaped most of it and turned a copy over to a television station.
It was played over and over for the following year, inflaming racial tensions across the country.
It seemed that the videotape would be the key evidence to a guilty verdict against the officers, whose trial was moved to the predominantly white suburb of Simi Valley, California.
Instead, on April 29, 1992, a jury with no black members acquitted three of the officers; a mistrial was declared for a fourth.
Violence erupted immediately, starting in South Los Angeles.
Police, seemingly caught off-guard, were quickly outnumbered by rioters and retreated. As the uprising spread to the city's Koreatown area, shop owners armed themselves and engaged in running gun battles with looters.
During the riots, a white lorry driver named Reginald Denny was pulled by several black men from his cab and beaten almost to death.
He required surgery to repair his shattered skull, reset his jaw and put one eye back into its socket.
|< Prev||Next >|
Other articles in Americas
Argentine president to undergo brain surgery 08 October 2013
Canada 'spied' on Brazil's Energy Ministry 07 October 2013
Many killed in southern Peru bus crash 07 October 2013
Monster Truck show in Mexico turns deadly 07 October 2013
Argentine president on leave over head injury 06 October 2013
Push for Pinochet 'dictatorship' in textbooks 05 October 2013
White House says shutdown impedes sanctions 05 October 2013
Hackers steal customer data from Adobe 04 October 2013
Tropical Storm Karen takes aim at US coast 04 October 2013
Ecuador congress approves park oil drilling 04 October 2013
|Timothy V. Gatto|