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Rodney King, 47, found dead at home in Rialto

June 17, 2012 |  8:50 am


Rodney King, whose beating at the hands of Los Angeles police officers sparked the largest riot in Los Angeles history, has been found dead at his home in Rialto, according to his publicist and media reports. He was 47. 

King was drunk and unarmed when he was pulled over in 1991 for speeding by Los Angeles Police Department officers, who responded to his erratic behavior by kicking him and striking him dozens of times with their batons.

The incident was captured on video by a civilian bystander, and the recording became an instant international sensation.

PHOTOS: Rodney King | 1965- 2012

Four of the officers were tried for excessive force. Their acquittal on April 29, 1992, touched off one of the worst urban riots in U.S. history.

King, who continued to struggle with substance abuse problems over the years, recently wrote a book about his life called "The Riot Within."

In April, King spoke with The Times about the riots and his troubled life.

“You don't want to let anybody's expectations down. People look at me like I should have been like Malcolm X or Martin Luther King or Rosa Parks. I should have seen life like that and stay out of trouble, and don't do this and don't do that. But it's hard to live up to some people's expectations, which [I] wasn't cut out to be. I didn't go to school to be 'Rodney King' and [be] beat up by cops and thrust into the limelight. It's taken years to get used to the situation I'm in in life and the weight it holds. One of the cops in the jail [in a later encounter] said: You know what? People are going to know who you are when you're dead and gone. A hundred years from now, people are still going to be talking about you. It's scary, but at the same time, it's a blessing."


Photos: Rodney King

Video: Rodney King beating

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--Patt Morrison