Police in Rialto, California, told the Journal: “The preliminary investigation indicates that this is a drowning and there are no signs of foul play.”
On March 3, 1991, the African American was beaten by Los Angeles police after a car chase — an attack that was caught on videotape by a bystander. When the white officers in the case were acquitted the following year, it sparked six days of rioting in the city.
The widespread violence killed 53 people. On the third day of the riots, King appeared with an appeal, “People, I just want to say, can we all get along? Can we get along?”
As the BBC reports today, a later trial resulted in two of the four officers being jailed. King sued the City of Los Angeles and won $3.8m (£2.5m) compensation.
Rev. Al Sharpton said Sunday said that despite his demons, King always believed in reconciliation. “History will record that it was Rodney King’s beating and his actions that made America deal with the excessive misconduct of law enforcement.”