Rodney King’s death on Sunday (June 17, 2012) was a tragic and unfitting ending for the man who was at the center of one of the most violent race riots in this nation’s history. Although two decades have since passed, the 1992 LA riots – sparked by the acquittal of the police officers who were caught on videotape beating King — still resonate heavily in the minds of L.A. residents and beyond.
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NewsOne has compiled a short list of little-known facts about Rodney King, adding a complexity to his character beyond the savage police beating.
1. Fiancée Cynthia Kelley Was A Juror In King’s Civil Suit Against The City in 1994 – Rodney King announced plans to marry Cynthia Kelly back in September, 2010. Kelly sat as a juror at King’s civil suit against the city of Los Angeles for his vicious beating at the hands of the LAPD.
2. King Funneled Some Of His Civil Suit Settlement Funds Into Rap Label – King would later go on to win a $3.8 million settlement in his lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles. King decided to invest a portion of his winnings into a Hip-Hop label known as the Straight Alta-Pazz Recording Company. The label would later fold.
3. King Entered Celebrity Boxing Match With Ousted Police Officer In 2009 – Rodney King would find himself on the celebrity boxing circuit, traveling to Philadelphia to take on ousted Pennsylvania police officer Simon Aouad. Aouad was kicked off the Chester City police force for allegedly “breaking the rules” as he told Sirius XM radio host Howard Stern during a live interview. King would go on to win the bout.
4. Rodney King Had Stints On Reality TV – Rodney King’s troubles with alcohol addiction plagued him well into the 21st century. After several arrests by way of his addiction, King would star on shows Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew and Sober House on VH1. He would admit on air that booze was a demon he simply could not shake.
5. King Showed Support For Trayvon Martin – Even though he suffered violence at the hands of police, King has always advocated for peace. In an appearance on CNN’s Piers Morgan Tonight show, King urged patience for both the family of the slain teen and the public who rabidly demanded justice.
Rodney King may have had his troubles and certainly battled his demons publicly but he always urged peace and leniency, even against those who harmed him. Even under the glaring lights of scrutiny and criticism, he remained positive and hopeful. Hopefully, King’s soul is finally at rest after such a turbulent life.