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Imperfect Man, Perfect Message
Mr. Rodney Glen King died this morning, apparently found in his pool by his fiancé, Cynthia Kelly just before 6am.
Rodney King became the face of savage police brutality 20 years ago after he was brutally beaten and tasered by a group of rogue LAPD officers after a freeway incident that was caught on videotape and shown around the world.
Imagine being a black man surrounded by police officers who levy more than 55 baton blows on King’s crumpled, unarmed body, in addition to kicks to the head, back, and neck. Four LAPD officers were acquitted of assault on April 29, 1992, sparking a riot that killed 54 people, led to widespread looting and arson and caused more than $1 billion in damage. Needless to say, that Los Angeles Police Department did not know that the rogue actions of those officers would make King a symbol for police brutality and the cops a symbol for police corruption. A later federal trial for civil rights violations ended with two of the officers found guilty and sent to prison and the other two officers acquitted.
King settled a civil suit against the city of Los Angeles for just under four million dollars, investing in a construction business and record label. King was also in the news this spring as a commentator on the Trayvon Martin case and released a book in April, “The Riot Within: My Journey from Redemption to Rebellion.”
Mr. King may not have known his true impact on our culture and the nation. Recall his question, “Can’t we all just get along?” Well, America, what’s your response?
Rodney King was 47. He is survived by three children and his fiancé, Cynthia Kelly.