I have a feeling Rodney King was one of life’s unfortunates. He never sought infamy, but it found him. He was an unwitting poster child of police brutality who was also a reluctant symbol of civil rights created by politicians, lawyers and the media. He had a lot of demons he battled and the saddest thing is he never found a solution.
This morning (Sunday) he was pulled out of his pool at his home in Rialto, a suburb of Los Angeles after his fiancée called emergency, upon discovering him at the bottom of their swimming pool at 5.25 am PST. Preliminary indications are that he drowned and there wasn’t any obvious signs of foul play. An autopsy is scheduled within 48 hours. The thing is I’m not buying her story, something doesn’t sound right and I hope the Rialto police isn’t ruling out foul play too soon. Not only are they saying there were no signs of foul play, but that here was no drug paraphernalia or alcohol found. I don’t know about you, but if you heard I was having a weekend of heavy drinking and smoking refer, you best believe, there would bottles and glasses visible, even a lil bit of something something somewhere.
Some outlets are reporting his fiancée Cynthia Kelley, has been telling friends, he did a whole lot of drinking all through Saturday and also smoked weed. She says she went to bed at 2am but awoke to find him naked banging on the glass. It’s not known if it was glass door or window. She turned to grab the phone (why didn’t she just go to him?) when she heard a splash. Kelley says she found him in the pool and called emergency service. By the way, Cynthia Kelley was on the jury that awarded him $3.8 million in a civil damages against the City of Los Angeles, after police beat him within an inch of his life in 1991.
It’s not just the fiancée who is talking. A neighbour says she heard a commotion, which she describs as sobbing in the wee hours of the morning between 3 and 3:30 am. According to her, someone was trying to console someone.
The only black person on the jury, it was Kelly that pushed and held out for the millions he received. The others figured $100,000 was all he should get, since he’d spend it all.
If foul play isn’t involved, it will be a shame if the man who so nearly died at the hands of a group of brutal out of control police officers brought on his own death by his life-style, 20 years later. I eagerly await the autopsy results.
Despite his lawyers netting a huge slice of his compensation, he ended up with considerably more than he started off with. King appears to have mismanaged and squandered the balance. His lack of education, back ground and addictions, rendered him incapable of dealing with what should have been a life altering financial settlement, and he died trying to make ends meet any how he could, which included ‘celebrity boxing matches’.
His traumatic experience at the hands of the LAPD wasn’t his last interaction with them. Rodney King has had several run ins with the law over the past 20 years, the latest was last year. He continued to struggle with life and his addictions. I wonder what would have become of him had his name not become synonymous with police brutality and a riot that sparked after the acquittal of the 4 police men who savaged him. He was on parole for a robbery conviction and had been drinking the night cops spotted him speeding through an area of the San Fernando Valley. He knew he was going back to the slammer and took off, leading cops on a chase through Sylmar and Lakeview Terrace.
Still seething with anger over the investigation conducted by the LAPD and my subsequent arrest and continual hounding by LAPD Administrative Vice, my blood boiled as I watched footage of his beating.
A year later I was In London for Easter when an all white jury acquitted 3 of the officers and declared a mistrial on the 4th. Hell broke lose in Los Angeles and a day later I left London for Denver, but decided on the flight to Colorado, that I’d better just head home to LA instead. Denver could wait.
You could smell the smoke from burning buildings even up in the sky’s and when I landed at Burbank Airport, I was met with a very eerie feeling. Although it was around 7:30pm, there was something about the atmosphere, it was still and quiet for an airport. There was a dusk to dawn curfew in place and since I couldn’t reach my brother who was staying in my condo, I jumped into a Taxi, which I shared with two guys heading for Beverly Hills and Century City. Fifteen minutes later I was outside my front door on an even more quieter street with no movement, not even cars.
From what I have read over the years Rodney King tried to deal with his addictions and other issues, but I guess almost having your life beaten out of you, doesn’t help when trying to come to terms with your demons.
RIP Rodney King.
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