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Rodney King 'showed the nation a better way,' Rev. Al Sharpton says

June 30, 2012 |  3:46 pm

Rodney King

Rodney King “turned his scars into stars and showed the nation a better way,” the Rev. Al Sharpton said Saturday during memorial services in Los Angeles for King.

A private memorial was held for family, close friends and invited guests before the 2 p.m. funeral service at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills. King’s brother Paul, a minister in their Jehovah's Witnesses faith, was the only speaker; he urged others to examine their own lives and use them for good. 

King became a symbol in the civil rights struggle after he was brutally beaten by Los Angeles police two decades ago, leading to one of the largest urban riots in U.S. history.

At a news conference before the funeral, Sharpton paid tribute to him. The Rev. Jesse Jackson was expected to attend but did not appear at the services.

PHOTOS: Rodney King | 1965- 2012

King was found dead in his swimming pool June 17 at his Rialto home.

Walking through the foyer at Forest Lawn, guests passed a large photograph of a smiling King, set on an easel before a painting titled “The Day of Decision” depicting the writing of the Declaration of Independence. They signed a guest book and paused before a scrapbook with clippings from those fateful days in 1991 and 1992 before stepping into a 1,200-seat auditorium.

Inside, a slide show depicting scenes from King’s life played above his open casket. The words "Can We All Just Get Along" were embroidered on the open lid.

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-- Thomas Curwen and Sandy Banks at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills

Photo credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

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