Originally published on Sun June 17, 2012 11:23 am
Rodney King — whose 1991 beating by police officers was filmed and lead to riots in Los Angeles — was found at the bottom of his swimming pool early Sunday. He was 47. Rachel Martin speaks with NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates about the beating and how its aftermath changed race relations in America forever.
After suffering from injuries from the beating and struggling publicly with alcoholism, today Rodney King is contented, sober and engaged — to Cynthia Kelley, who served on the jury of King's civil trial against the city.
With a helicopter buzzing overhead, the videotape of Rodney King's encounter with police is so famous, you could say he was beaten into American history: The image of him writhing in pain as several Los Angeles police officers repeatedly beat, kicked and tasered him is, by now, world-famous — and synonymous with abuse of power.