According to Huff Post Los Angeles, Rodney King, whose beating by police officers ignited the 1992 Los Angeles riots, was in an alcohol-induced delirium and had PCP, cocaine and marijuana in his system when he drowned in his backyard swimming pool, according to an autopsy report. The cause of death was listed as accidental drowning . Drugs were contributing factors to the death.
According to The Sun, King was in a state of “drug- and alcohol-induced delirium at the time” and “either fell or jumped into the swimming pool,” quoting the San Bernardino County coroner’s report from the Los Angeles Times reports.
The drugs, combined with a heart condition, resulted in a cardiac arrhythmia. King died at age 47. King’s blood-alcohol level was 0.06. He was “thus incapacitated, was unable to save himself and drowned,” according to the autopsy report. “There is nothing in the history or autopsy examination to suggest suicide or homicide,” according to the autopsy report, the San Bernardino County Sun reported.
The PCP found in King’s blood was noteworthy. The Los Angeles police officers involved in the 1991 beating stated they believed he was on PCP, which can make users not affected by pain. However, tests in 1991 established no trace of the drug. King gained fame in 1991, when a witness videotaped a fight between King and Los Angeles police. The video showed officers brutally beating King and was broadcast on news outlets around the world.
King died in June 2012 after he was discovered by his fiancee at the bottom of the backyard pool at his Rialto home. The fiancée awoke to King screaming in the backyard at about 5 a.m. She discovered him naked, banging on glass. When she went to obtain her telephone, she heard a splash.
According to TMZ, when police arrived, they found a pitchfork, a hoe and a vacuum pool sweeper in the pool. King’s fiancee told the officers she used the tools in an attempt to fish King out of the water rather than jumping in the pool because she was not a good swimmer and feared entering the water.
King struggled with addiction for years after the riot. He once appeared on “Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.” In his memoir, “The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption,” he wrote that he still drank and used drugs. His fiancee had been a juror in a civil suit he brought against the City of LA.
He wrote in his book he was on his way to recovering from addiction. On the 20th anniversary of the beating in March 2012, King told journalists he was happy. After officers involved in the King beating in 1992 were acquitted, riots commenced in Los Angeles. The police could not control the city. In response to the racial tensions that fueled the riots, King pleaded for peace, asking “Can we all get along?” The riots left 53 dead, caused 3,600 fires, destroyed 10,000 businesses, resulting in more than $1-billion worth of damage.