We saw his face a bloody, pulpy mess. And in 1992, when the four Los Angeles Police officers who beat him after a traffic stop were acquitted, it touched off anger that affected an entire generation. Now, 20 years later, this is the face of Rodney King, and this is what has happened to him in the interim.
He’s been a record company executive and a reality TV star among many other things.
To millions of Americans, though, he will always be either a victim of one of the most horrific cases of police brutality ever videotaped or just a hooligan who didn’t stop when police attempted to pull him over.
He’s indisputably the black motorist whose beating on a darkened LA street led to one of the worst race riots in American history.
It’s been an up-and-down ride for King since he went on television at the height of those riots and pleaded in a quavering voice, “Can we all get along?”
He’s been arrested numerous times, mostly for alcohol-related crimes. In a recent interview with The Associated Press he said, “I still sip, I don’t get drunk.”
He has been to a number of rehab programs, he said, including the 2008 appearance on “Dr. Drew” Pinsky’s “Celebrity Rehab” program.
Still, he was arrested again just last year for driving under the influence.
It was his fear of being stopped for drunken driving on March 3, 1991, King said, that initially led him to try to evade police who attempted to pull him over for speeding.
After he did stop, four LA police officers hit him more than 50 times with their batons, kicked him and shot him with stun guns. A man who had quietly stepped outside his home to observe the commotion videotaped most of it and turned a copy over to a local TV station.
After a jury with no black members acquitted the officers on April 29, 1992, the city’s black community exploded in rage. Fifty-five people died, more than 2,000 were injured over three days.
King received a $3.8 million settlement from the city, but said he lost most it to bad investments, among them a hip-hop record label he founded that quickly went broke.
He makes money these days taking part in events like celebrity boxing matches. He’s also promoting his just-published memoir, “The Riot Within: My Journey From Rebellion to Redemption.”
A tall, physically imposing man who is disarmingly friendly, self-effacing and soft-spoken, King, 47, maintains he is happy.
“America’s been good to me after I paid the price and stayed alive through it all,” he says. “This part of my life is the easy part now.”
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/7-10/14)
25 photos Launch gallery
1. Nite | to the tune of @cnn 😞
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2. Got so much work to do but I just wanna stay in bed and binge watch #Gameofthrones and start the new season of #OnceUponATime. I know I can't be the only one. Right? Ha 💤🦁🍂 #saturday
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3. Mommy's weekend turn up ❤️👶🏾💕🍼 Wouldn't trade it for nothing. #TeamNoSleep lol #HesMyBiggestBlessing ✨
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4. One of them oh shit mont we made it feelings … this shit still be unreal 💯💪🏾 @remyboymonty1738
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5. Tickets Available October 14 @ticketmaster.
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6. People magazine Home edition has raided my house! Get a sneak peek into the bedroom life of the Leakes and see other parts of my home now at PEOPLE.COM
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7. They want to kick you when you down, but kick it when you up
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8. Got my advance copy of #Mafia3 at @gamestop. Get yours via link in the bio #Mafia3 #Ad
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9. This is some of the cast and our diverse team of writers in the writer's room creating funny sh*t for @nbcmarlon what a fun room! Lots of jokes, great stories and having a great time doing what we love... making people laugh and feel something. Look out for our show next year @nbcmarlon we bringing sitcoms back to NBC
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10. #HappySunday☀️Thank you @4everbrandy101 💛💡💛
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11. Happy to be back in Central Falls, RI breaking ground for the One Stop Health Center and hosting a local community event with #Vaseline.
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12. Thank you all in advance 💋💋💋 #Repost @urbansvintage・・・#TarajiPHenson's memoir #AroundTheWayGirl will be available everywhere TODAY October 11th! Will you be purchasing a copy? #UrbansVintage
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13. Moms got my back
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14. @galore dinner party glo ✨ thanks to @styledbygiigii
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15. 🌹#ThisIsWhatTheTruthFeelsLikeTOUR #forevereve
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16. Yes, all those videos I've been posting have led to this: the introduction of skincare to @TYRABeauty! This is the rundown on the new line:Years of research and beauty tips I live by led me to produce the most effective and delightful skincare out there. I'm all about taking really good care of my skin, so I can look like I'm aging in #TyraYears and go filter free on Instagram when I feel like it! Now, it's your turn. ✨My Mama always told me not to wash my face with just my hands. "Tyra, girl, you're just moving the dirt around!" And I've listened. First up is The Clean Machine.... ...a 3-in-1 foaming face wash that cleanses, removes makeup and purified your skin. It has patented technology - a attached Turbo Cleansing Tool - to give you that deep clean that makes your skin feel super fresh. Wanna know more? Yeah, baby. Click that link in my bio.
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17. On set of #beingmaryjane like... ❤️😬💃🏾
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18. #carouselofhope@yvetteshelton100@makeupbylatrice @thestacetheface@marialuciahohan24
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19. I refuse to let a little cold stop me from my daily routines to greatness. #onlythestrongsurvive #warriors
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20. Big things begin with big THINKING... #BusinessEthics #SetLife 🎥
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21. Goodnight - here's a song
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22. Words can't explain the feeling that I have right now.....God is good. look momma I made it. #Harts #Blessed #WhatNow #comedicrockstarshit #4DaysAway
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23. I tried to get a better video with out the nasty bib but she started getting mad at me..lol! Big cuz @the_queen_caitlin trying to show her what to do. #MamasToots #HeirBear👑💜
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24. Gorgeous Serena joined Beyoncé in Formation last night on stage in New Jersey!!!
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25. 😜 @lifeofdesiigner & @rockohill
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