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Police: Rodney King’s ‘accidental drowning’ involved drugs

Race and Rage The Beating of Rodney King 20 years later

By Stan Wilson and Alan Duke, CNN

LOS ANGELES (CNN) – Rodney King’s death in June was the result of accidental drowning, although alcohol, cocaine, marijuana and PCP found in his system were contributing factors, authorities said Thursday.

King, whose beating by Los Angeles police in 1991 was caught on camera and sparked riots after the acquittal of the four officers involved, was found dead in the swimming pool at his Rialto, California, home June 17, authorities and his fiancee said. He was 47.

King was “in a state of drug and alcohol-induced delirium” and “either fell or jumped into the swimming pool,” said the autopsy report released by the San Bernardino County coroner Thursday.

No foul play is suspected and the police investigation of his death is closed, Rialto Police Capt. Randy De Anda told CNN.

The autopsy findings are consistent with the police investigation’s conclusion, De Anda said.

King’s fiancee, Cynthia Kelly, found him at the bottom of the pool and called 911 for help at 5:25 a.m. on that Sunday morning, police said. Police removed him from the pool and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation until paramedics arrived. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital, police said.

Kelly, who was a juror in King’s lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles in 1994, told police that King was an “avid swimmer” but that she was not, De Anda said. She said the two had just had a conversation and she went inside, but came back out after hearing a splash and saw him at the bottom of the pool.

Nearly a year after the rioting in Los Angeles, the four officers stood trial in federal court on civil rights charges. Two were found guilty and sentenced to 30 months in prison, and two were acquitted. King also sued the city of Los Angeles and was awarded $3.8 million in damages

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