Rodney Glen King (April 2, 1965 – June 17, 2012) was an American construction worker turned writer and activist after surviving an act of police brutality by the Los Angeles Police Department. On March 3, 1991, King was violently beaten by LAPD officers during his arrest for fleeing and evading on California State Route 210. A civilian, George Holliday, filmed the incident from his nearby balcony and sent the footage to local news station KTLA. The footage clearly showed King being beaten repeatedly, and the incident was covered by news media around the world.
The four officers were tried on charges of use of excessive force; three were acquitted, the jury failed to reach a verdict on one charge for the fourth. Within hours of the acquittals, the 1992 Los Angeles riots started, sparked by outrage among African Americans over the verdicts and longstanding social issues. The rioting lasted six days, during which 63 people were killed and 2,373 were injured; it ended only after the California Army National Guard, the United States Army, and the United States Marine Corps provided reinforcements to re-establish control.
The federal government prosecuted a separate civil rights case, obtaining grand jury indictments for violations by the four officers of King's civil rights. Their trial in a federal district court ended on April 16, 1993, with two of the officers being found guilty and sentenced to prison. The other two were acquitted of the charges. The city of Los Angeles awarded King $3.8 million in damages, in a separate suit. He struggled to start a business, but was not successful. In 2012, he was found dead in his swimming pool two months after publishing his memoir; the coroner found evidence of alcohol and drugs in his system and ruled these and his history of heart problems had likely resulted in the accidental drowning.