911 Call Released on Rodney King’s Drowning

RIALTO – Police released recordings on Tuesday of the 911 emergency call made by Rodney King’s fiancée on Sunday morning when she discovered him at the bottom of their backyard swimming pool.

Rodney King in a file photo from 1995

King, who gained fame as the man who was shown getting beaten on a videotape by Los Angeles police after a 1991 late night pursuit, died at age 47 when rescuers were unable to resuscitate him. His fiancée, Cynthia Kelley, was heard crying throughout a five-minute, 15-second telephone call to police at about 5:30 a.m. on Sunday.

Kelley: “Rodney King, the guy that got beat by the police.”
Dispatcher: “OK. How old is he?”
Kelley: “He’s 47 years old. He’s not moving; he’s at the bottom of the swimming pool.”
Dispatcher: “Is he out now of the pool or is he still in the pool?”
Kelley: “I was sleeping, all of a sudden I heard something fall like the table and then I looked over and then I went to find him and he’s at the bottom of the swimming pool. He’s still there. Please hurry up.”

The dispatcher asked Kelley if she would be able to pull King out of the water, but Kelley said she can’t swim.

Rialto police officers pulled King out of the pool and attempted to resuscitate him, but he died about 45 minutes after Kelley’s call. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.
While investigating his death as an accidental drowning, police said there are looking into all possible leads. Officers found no sign of trauma or blood on the concrete near the pool, according to a release.

A police official said King was in the water three to four minutes between the time Kelley called 911 and when officers were able to pull him from the water. King lived in the San Bernardino County community of Rialto, which is a little over an hour’s drive from the Simi Valley location where King was beaten by police officers at the conclusion of a freeway pursuit that included Los Angeles police and California Highway Patrol. Riots eventually broke out in Los Angeles when three of the officers involved were acquitted on charges, while another officer’s case ended in a mistrial.

King famously declared, “Can we all just get along?” when 53 people were killed during the riots. King was eventually awarded nearly $4 million in a civil case.

Read More:

LA Times: Rodney King: Fiancee screaming, sobbing during 911 call

CBS Los Angeles: Rialto Police Release Audio Of Rodney King 911 Call

911 Call Released on Rodney King’s Drowning was last modified: January 10th, 2019 by admin

About Author

Lee Brown

Obrey "Lee" Brown has worked for 10 newspapers and magazines in the Bay Area, central and southern California. In 2005, he wrote "A Citrus Test: Football in Black & White." He can be reached at baseballOLB@hotmail.com.