Rodney King — the victim of the brutal police beating that sparked the notorious Los Angeles racial riots — is set to marry one of the jurors from his controversial civil trial, RadarOnline.com reported Tuesday.
King, now 44, recently proposed to Cynthia Kelley — Juror No. 5– who awarded King a $3.8 million payout in a civil case against the City of Los Angeles. In 1991, police officers (bully clubs in hand) chased an intoxicated King through the San Fernando Valley following a traffic stop. He was captured on videotape being beaten by four white officers. Their acquittal at a criminal trial sparked the notorious race riots that lasted for four days, leaving 55 dead and more than 2,000 injured.
“Our first date was the next day after the trial when Rodney’s lawyer and Rodney met me in a local pizzeria in Newport Beach,” says Kelley, who was the lone African-American on the jury. “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.”
The years since the beating that shot him to infamy haven’t been easy on King. The sometimes folk hero survived a shooting and has publicly battled addiction. Rodney and Cynthia separated during King’s appearance on the first season of VH1’s Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, but reconnected when King called Cynthia four months ago to ask if his former lover was still single.
“She is a godsend, a blessing in my life. I don’t know what I would have done without her in my life … I can’t wait to make her my wife.”
King, who coined the poignant phrase: “Can’t we all just get along?” has not yet set a date for the nuptials.