A still from the video which showed Los Angeles police officers beating Rodney King. (Source: WikiCommons)
(RNN) - Rodney King, whose 1991 beating by Los Angeles Police was caught on video, and subsequent acquittal of the officers sparked riots in 1992, has died. He was 47.
According to CNN, King was found at the bottom of a pool in Rialito, CA, by his fiancee. Responding officers pulled him from the water and attempted to revive him. He was pronounced dead at 6:11 a.m. PT.
King was beaten on March 3, 1991, by Los Angeles police officers after he refused to pull over for drunken driving. King was on parole for a robbery conviction and told CNN earlier this year he was afraid of going back to jail.
The beating was caught on camera by a bystander at nearby apartment complex. The video showed police officers surrounding King and striking him more than 50 times with batons and Tasers while other officers watched.
The video tape focused national attention on the Los Angeles Police force, prompting outrage and accusations of police brutality and racism.
In a claim filed with the city, King said he sustained 11 skull fractures, permanent brain damage, kidney damage and multiple broken bones, among other injuries.
The beating and subsequent investigation led to the resignation of then-police chief, Daryl F. Gates.
Four Los Angeles police officers, Sgt. Stacey Koon, Theodore Briseno, Laurence Powell, and Timothy Wind, were tried for excessive use of force. The trial was held in Simi Valley, CA, a predominately demographically white Los Angeles. The officers were acquitted on April 29, 1992, sparking the infamous Los Angeles Riots and smaller riots in cities across the country.
The subsequent chaos in Los Angeles, which included multiple incidents of looting and arson, killed 54 and injured more than 2,000.
Two officers were later found guilty during a federal trial on civil rights violations. Two other officers were acquitted of the charges.
"Can we all get along?" King asked during a press conference during the third day of the L.A. Riots to try and calm the populace.
King later sued the city and received $3.8 million in damages.
King grew up in Los Angeles, one of five children. His father was an alcoholic, a trait which was passed down to his son.
King had been drinking on the night of his beating, according to a memoir released April 24. He admitted in the book, titled The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption, that he still struggled with a lifetime of alcohol abuse and addiction.
In 2008, King was part of the VH1 reality television series Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew after he checked in to the Pasadena Recovery Center in Pasadena, CA. He worked on treating his alcohol addiction as well as confronting the trauma he still felt from his 1991 beating.
He also appeared on Sober House, a VH1 spin-off which focused on life in a sober living environment.
In 2009, he appeared on another episode of Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, where he celebrated his 11th month of sobriety.
In February 2012, King pled guilty to misdemeanor reckless driving after he was stopped by Los Angeles police on March 3, 2011.
Copyright 2012 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.
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