June 17, 2012 – RODNEY KING was found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool early Sunday morning. He was 47.
Rodney had just published a book in April called “The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption”. A rep for his publisher, Harper Collins, said, He was really happy, upbeat and engaged.” And was apparently very happy about upcoming dates to speak with kids about the book.
But according to TMZ, Rodney’s fiancee is telling her friends that he had been drinking all day Saturday, and smoked pot at some point during the day. He went to bed at 2:00 in the morning, but he woke her up three hours later by screaming in the backyard. He was naked. Cynthia reportedly went to get a phone, then heard a splash. She ran out to the backyard to find him in the bottom of the pool.
The riot that ensued when the four LAPD officers who beat Rodney were acquitted caused $1 billion in property damage. Fifty-three people died and thousands more were injured. Rodney later won $3.8 million in a civil suit against the city, but he was left with permanent brain damage from the beating. He was arrested several times in the ensuing years. In 1995, he was charged with hit-and-run for knocking his then-wife down with his car. His fiancee Cynthia Kelley was one of the jurors in his civil trial.