Rodney King Funeral Set For Saturday In Hollywood Hills
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Rodney King, a symbol of racial tension in Los Angeles and catalyst for sweeping law-enforcement reforms after his 1991 beating by police officers, is to be buried on Saturday following a public memorial service.
King was found by his fiancÃ©e drowned on June 17 at the bottom of his backyard swimming pool in Rialto, California, a suburb about 50 miles east of Los Angeles. He was 47.
Results of toxicology and tissue studies were still pending, authorities said, and there were questions about how King, who by all accounts was an avid swimmer, ended up drowning in his own pool.
A funeral open to the public was scheduled for 2 p.m. (1700 GMT) at the Forest Lawn Hall of Liberty in the Hollywood Hills, the same auditorium used for the private 2009 funeral of Michael Jackson before the pop star's public memorial service at the Staples Center.
Among those expected to attend the service for King are his three daughters and his fiancÃ©e, Cynthia Kelly, as well as civil rights leaders the Reverend Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson.
His death came two months after the 20th anniversary of Los Angeles riots triggered by the acquittal of four white police officers prosecuted for the beating of King, who was black, in a confrontation a year earlier caught on videotape and widely replayed.
During the racially charged unrest, which left more than 50 people dead and caused more than $1 billion in property damage, King famously appealed for calm in a televised appearance in which he asked rhetorically, "Can we all get along?"
The case helped bring attention to the issue of racial profiling by law enforcement and led to far-reaching reforms in the Los Angeles Police Department.
King, who long struggled with drug and alcohol abuse, financial difficulties and legal problems, had recently published a memoir entitled, "The Riot Within: My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption."
Two of the four white officers acquitted of state charges by a jury a year after King's notorious March 1991 beating were later convicted of federal charges and sentenced to 30-month prison terms. A civil jury later awarded King $3.8 million in damages. One of the jurors was Kelly, who became his fiancÃ©e. (Reporting by Steve Gorman; Editing by Bill Trott and Jackie Frank)
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