Rodney King to marry juror who gave him $3.8m
Man at the centre of the 1992 LA riots speaks as city suffers new unrest over shooting of immigrant
Rodney King, the black man whose beating by four white police officers sparked riots in Los Angeles in 1992, is to marry the juror who was instrumental in securing him a $3.8m compensation pay-out. The news comes as LA suffered fresh riots – this time over a Guatemalan immigrant who was shot dead by police.
It is almost 20 years since King was caught speeding by police after a night spent watching basketball and drinking with friends in 1991. A high-speed chase ended at a traffic light, where King was viciously beaten by four white police officers: the whole incident was caught on video camera by a bystander filming from his balcony.
The police officers were acquitted of using excessive force at a later trial, a verdict that led to the notorious 1992 Los Angeles riots, in which 53 people died and the damage to property amounted to $1bn.
At a later civil trial, King was awarded $3.8m in compensation against the city of Los Angeles. Now 44, he told Radar Online how he first met his fiancée, Cynthia Kelley, at a pizzeria the day after the trial.
The couple, who were both in relationships at the time, lost contact soon afterwards. In the meantime, King used his money to found a hip-hop music label, Straight Alta-Pazz Recording Company, which failed, and endured a battle with alcoholism.
Four months ago, King phoned Kelley on a whim and the two "reconnected". Kelley, the only black member of the jury in the civil case, claims to have been instrumental in winning King his multi-million dollar payout, recalling: "During deliberations, the other jurors said, 'Let's just award him $100,000, you know he's just gonna blow it anyway'.
"It was a blessing that I was even there, the other jurors didn't want to give him anything."
News of their romance came after LA saw two nights of race riots – this time among the city's Hispanic population, who are angry at the fatal shooting of a Guatemalan immigrant by police.
Construction worker Manuel Jamines was shot dead on the weekend after threatening a passer-by with a knife. A peaceful vigil by mainly Hispanic protestors on Monday descended into violence and on Tuesday night rubber bullets were fired to disperse the crowd after eggs, rocks and bottles were thrown at a police station. ·
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