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Rodney King was found by his fiancé and pulled by police from the deep end of his pool on Sunday in Rialto, California. The autopsy was completed Monday but results could take as long as six weeks. It appears the 47-year-old drowned. King’s fiancé is considered a witness in the event after having spoken to police for several hours on Sunday according to Officer David Shepherd as seen in The Washington Post.
King is famous for being brutally beaten by four white police officers in Los Angeles in 1991. The beating resulted in 11 skull fractures, a broken eye socket, and facial nerve damage. It was photographed, videotaped, and broadcasted worldwide. An all-white jury acquitted three officers on state charges and the fourth was found a mistrial. As a result of the verdict a massive race riot broke out.
King struggled with drugs and addiction throughout his life but no drug paraphernalia was found near the pool. A marijuana plant was taken from the house on Sunday but no other objects were confirmed. Lawrence Spagnola, who assisted in King’s memoir, “The Riot Within: From Rebellion to Redemption” says, “When Rodney was talking about spousal abuse or DUIs or drinking, there was a look in his face almost as if he was talking about another person.” Toxicology results will show if drugs or alcohol were in his system at time of death.
“There was a lot of good in him,” says Spagnola. “I honestly think he’s more at peace now than he ever was in his life.” He says that King wanted to be recognized as more than a beating victim and was tired of the publicity which the event created. Setting a wedding date and the birth of another grandchild were things that King had to look forward to in life.
Spagnola says that King hoped that the words he spoke during the riot, “Can we all just along?” would persist. No memorial to King has been created at the residence.