An autopsy is scheduled for Monday to determine what caused Rodney King’s death. The 47-year-old was found dead at his home’s swimming pool in Southern California early Sunday morning.
Twenty years ago King became the brutalized symbol of police brutality after his beating by four LAPD officers was caught on tape. The acquittal of those officers later led to the 1992 L.A. uprisings, which left over 50 people dead, thousands injured, and billions of dollars in property damage. In the middle of the carnage King pleaded for peace, asking, “Can we all get along?”
April marked the 20 year anniversary of the uprisings, and King also released a memoir that month called “The Riot Within.” In it, he captured a sometimes tumultuous personal journey of drug and alcohol addiction in the years following the country’s worst urban riot.
“I sometimes feel like I’m caught in a vise,” King told the Los Angeles Times. “Some people feel like I’m some kind of hero. Others hate me. They say I deserved it. Other people, I can hear them mocking me for when I called for an end to the destruction, like I’m a fool for believing in peace.”
So far, King’s death is being treated as an accidental drowning and police have reported that there are no signs of foul play. But Capt. Randy De Anda told the media that autopsy results would be needed to determine whether drugs or alcohol played a factor.