Rodney King Biography

Famous for the 1991 police car chase and abuse, Rodney King was an African-American construction worker who was beaten up by the LA police officers. This biography profiles his childhood, life and timeline.

Quick Facts

Birthday: April 2, 1965

Nationality: American

Famous: Died Young American Men

Sun Sign: Aries

Died At Age: 47

Also Known As: Rodney Glen King

Born in: Sacramento, California, U.S.

Famous as: Victim of Police Abuse

Spouse/Ex-: Crystal Waters (m. 1989–1996), Danetta King (m. 1984–1988)

father: Ronald King

mother: Odessa King

children: Candace, Tristan

Died on: June 17, 2012

place of death: Rialto, California, U.S.

City, States, Provinces & Districts: California

Cause of Death: Drowning

More Facts

awards: King $3.8 million
King's attorneys $1.7 million in statutory attorney’s fees

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Rodney Glen King was the famous African-American who fell victim to the police abuse at the hands of the LAPD officers. He was born and brought up in California and got into trouble with the law for the first time when he was 24 years old, after he attacked a store owner in California and stole cash from him. In 1991, he and two of his passengers were chased by California Highway Patrol Officers. King did not comply with the order of officers and instead chose to drive on, which led to a massive car chase, in which LAPD Officers joined in with the police helicopters. When he was finally captured, he was beaten up with the police baton by the officers and suffered serious fractures and injuries. While this was going on, George Holliday, a witness, recorded everything on a tape and sent that tape to a television channel which exposed the abuse of King by LAPD officers. Two out of five officers were convicted and King sued the City of Los Angeles and won 3.8 million US dollars. The tape was publicized and resulted in the riots all over Los Angeles. King became a public figure and appeared on television several times after the incident. He suffered from alcoholism and drug abuse for the rest of his life and died as a result of it in 2012.

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Rodney King
Childhood & Early Life
  • Rodney King was born on April 2, 1965 in Sacramento, California, to Ronald and Odessa King. His father died at the age of 42, leaving Rodney and his four siblings to his mother.
  • When he was 24 years old, he robbed a store that belonged to a Korean in Monterey Park, California. He stole 200 dollars in cash and hit the owner. He was convicted and put behind the bars for a year.
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Famous Car Chase & Police Abuse
  • In 1991, King and two of his friends, Bryant Allen and Freddie Helms, were chased by California Highway Patrol husband-wife police officers, Tim and Melanie Singer, after his car was caught speeding on the freeway.
  • King refused to pull over and the officers kept pursuing him through the residential streets at 55-80 miles per hour. After 8 miles, his car was cornered into pulling over and other officers arrived on the scene.
  • The first five LAPD officers who arrived at the scene were: Stacey Koon, Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind, Theodore Briseno and Ronaldo Solano. Tim Singer commanded King and his accomplices to get out and lie face down on the ground.
  • King’s friends obeyed the officer and got arrested but King did not get out of the car and when he did get out, he acted strangely and insultingly by giggling and waving to the police helicopter above his head.
  • He then grabbed his backside which Officer Melanie Singer thought was an act of taking his weapon out, to which she drew her gun out and ordered him to lie face down on the ground. She was about to arrest him.
  • LAPD Sergeant Stacey Koon ordered Singer to stop and let his officers take the charge of the situation. He did not want them to approach King with a weapon in their hands, so that King does not take the charge of the weapon.
  • The other four LAPD Officers, Briseno, Powell, Solano and Wind, were ordered to handcuff King by ‘swarming’ him––which meant that multiple officers grab him at the same point. King resisted to it and the officers stepped back.
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  • At this stage, taser was used on him twice and King rushed towards Powell either to attack him or escape, and they both crashed into each other. From this moment onwards George Holliday, a resident of the area, started videotaping the incident.
  • The moment they bumped together, Officer Powell smacked King with his baton and he fell to the ground. Powell continued to attack him, to which Officer Briseno came forward to stop him.
  • King stood up on his knees and was again hit by Powell and Wind with their batons, several times. At this point, Koon encouraged his officers to hit him again and again with “power strokes”.
  • King tried to stand up again and again but he was continually struck at his joints, elbows, wrists, knees and ankles. The officers struck him at least 33 times and kicked him additional 6 times. He was then hand and cord cuffed.
  • King was then dragged on the road to the side, waiting for the medical services to arrive. The videographer of the incident, George Holliday, recorded the whole incident from the window of his house nearby.
  • King was taken to the Pacifica Hospital and was diagnosed with fractured facial bone, broken ankle and multiple bruises. But later, king claimed that he suffered from “11 skull fractures, permanent brain damage, kidney and bones damage and trauma”.
  • King’s blood and urine samples showed that he was intoxicated at the time of his arrest with alcohol, traces of marijuana was also found but there were no signs of any other drugs in his blood toxicity reports.
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  • Two days after the incident, Holliday contacted the police regarding his tape and went to KTLA television for the broadcasting of the entire tape on the national television. It was aired a number of times on the TV.
  • Four of the LAPD Officers: Koon, Powell, Briseno and Wind were charged by the Los Angeles district attorney for using excessive force on King. Koon was charged on the grounds that he did not stop the unfair act of abuse.
  • The Los Angeles riots broke out in 1992 right after King’s arrest. As many as 53 people died in the riots and more than 2000 people were injured. Riots occurred in other places in the U. S. as well–– Nevada, San Francisco, etc.
  • Officers Powell and Koon were convicted in the federal court on the grounds of violating King’s civil rights. They served 30 months in prison. King sued the city of LA and won 3.8 million US dollars.
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Post Incident
  • King was arrested again in 1993, for crashing his car into a wall in LA, under the influence of alcohol. He was put on probation after this incident and was made to sign up an alcohol rehabilitation program.
  • In 1995, King was arrested again by the Alhambra Police, when he attacked his wife with his car. He got 90 days in the jail under the conviction of hit and run. His wife was badly hurt and fell on the ground when she was hit.
  • In 2003, he was arrested for speeding and fleeing a red light. He did not pull over this time as well and instead smashed his car into a house, effect of which broke his own pelvis.
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  • In 2008, he entered Pasadena Recovery Centre, California, and got filmed for ‘Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew’. The next year, he appeared in another show called ‘Sober House’ which showed him living and coping in a sober environment.
  • In 2009, King won a celebrity boxing match against ex-police officer from the Chester City, Officer Simon Aouad, in Pennsylvania. He also did another season of ‘Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew’, but this time he was one of the speakers.
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Personal Life & Legacy
  • King was married twice to Crystal Waters and Danetta Lyles. He had two daughters from each of his wives. He also had another daughter with a girl named Carmen Simpson, when he was only a teenager.
  • In 2010, he announced that he was to marry one of the jurors, Cynthia Kelly, from the civil suit that he filed against the City of Los Angeles. In 2012, he was found dead in the pool by her.
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Trivia
  • King was found at the bottom of the pool by his fiancé. His autopsy reports stated that he drowned because he was under the effect of alcohol, marijuana, cocaine and PCP, which probably caused cardiac arrhythmia, because of which he could not save himself from drowning.
  • He was attacked, apparently from a shotgun by a man and a woman, in 2007, while he was riding back home on his bicycle.
  • After two decades of the police abuse, King made a statement on CNN saying that he had forgiven the officers who had violated him.
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How To Cite

Article Title
- Rodney King Biography
Author
- Editors, TheFamousPeople.com
Website
- TheFamousPeople.com
URL
https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/rodney-glen-king-2737.php
Last Updated
- September 24, 2017

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