Rodney Glen King: April 2, 1965 – June 17, 2012.
Yesterday saw the passing of Rodney King, the unintentional symbol of the destructive racial tensions between the Los Angeles police and the African American community in the 1990s. King, who was 47, was discovered in his pool by his fiancée and pronounced dead at the scene.
In 1991, King became the face of police brutality and discrimination when he was pulled over by LAPD officers and brutally beaten, all of which was captured on videotape by a bystander. The act ignited a firestorm of anger within the black community and ultimately led to the 1992 L.A riots after the officers’ acquittals.
Regardless of his troubled life, the King incident brought the brutal honesty to the surface and helped bring awareness to the ruthless police brutality endured by the black community. He leaves behind a legacy that, despite how unfortunate the circumstance, has shaped the way in which race relations are viewed. The reluctant King released a memoir earlier this year in where he discussed his battle with alcohol and drugs, as well as his unwanted sense of fame and the pressures that came with being in the public eye.
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