Rodney King 'showed the nation a better way,' Rev. Al Sharpton says
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.
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.
-- Thomas Curwen and Sandy Banks at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills
Photo credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times