Rodney King’s death determined to be by accidental drowning
Autopsy tests find a cocktail of drugs in his system
Rodney King, who survived a brutal beating by Los Angeles police in 1991 and years later became a reluctant symbol of law enforcement brutality, died of accidental drowning, according to a report from the San Bernardino County coroner’s office.
King, 47, was found dead in his swimming pool at his home in Rialto, Calif., on June 17 by his fiancée Cynthia Kelley. Kelley said she phoned Rialto police for help at 5:25 a.m. According to reports, they removed he body and began cardiopulmonary resuscitation until paramedics arrived. King was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Kelley she was unable to rescue King because she was not a proficient swimmer.
The coroner’s report said, King “was in a state of drug- and alcohol-induced delirium at the time of the terminal event and either fell or jumped into the swimming pool.” The autopsy and toxicology tests indicated that alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and PCP were found in his system.
King had a history of alcohol and drug use, but many assumed he had overcome struggles with the substances.
“The effect of the drugs and alcohol, combined with the subject’s heart condition, probably precipitated a cardiac arrhythmia and the subject, thus incapacitated, was unable to save himself and drowned,” said the summary of the report. “There is nothing in the history or autopsy examination to suggest suicide or homicide, and the manner of death is therefore judged to be accident.”
According to the Los Angeles Times, police said when they showed up at the residence “there were no ‘outward signs’ of alcohol or drug use that may have caused King to fall into the pool. Investigators responding to the incident confiscated what appeared to marijuana plants from King’s home.
“Police said King’s body showed no signs of trauma, and no traces of blood were round on the concrete pool or deck,” said the Times. “He was dressed in swim trunks when police officers pulled him from the water.”
I never considered the late Rodney King anything of a philosopher, but as one observes Washington shenanigans, especially around fiscal matters, it seems that Brother King had a point. Can we all just, maybe, get along?
Rodney Glen King’s apparent accidental death at age 47 has prompted a flood of media punditry about the legacy of a life rife with misfortune. It was young Glen, as he was called, who had discovered his father’s body in the family bathtub. Rodney Sr. reportedly drank himself to death when Rodney Jr. was in high school.
An estimated 100 people, including actress Nichelle Nichols, above from left, and activist Al Sharpton and his daughters, attended the funeral of Rodney King held June 30 at Forest Lawn in the Hollywood Hills.
“People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?” —Rodney King, May 1, 1992
Twenty years after inadvertently finding himself in the center of a firestorm that scorched Los Angeles, Rodney King once again faced the harsh glare of public scrutiny in late May.
He was part of a panel at the California African American Museum reflecting on the events of April 29, 1992, that played a vital role in reshaping the City of Angels and the life of the then-27-year-old L.A. native.