The sad saga that began with the 1991 Los Angeles Police Department beating of Rodney King and lead to the boiling point Los Angeles riots in 1992 has come to a close with the autopsy reports following King’s death in June. The Los Angeles coroner said that King had both alcohol and marijuana as well as traces of cocaine and phencyclidine (PCP) in his blood at the time of his death, but that the cause of death was accidental drowning. King’s girlfriend, Cynthia Kelley, found him face down in the bottom of her pool and called 911 on the morning of June 17th. King leaves a tormented legacy and a sad story of a man who became an inadvertent touchstone in a city still struggling with racial problems.
What is the legacy of Rodney King? Is society accountable for his inability to bear the bright light of decades of public scrutiny?