Rodney King, 47, the world’s first viral video star, was found dead over the weekend at the bottom of his swimming pool in the backyard of his Rialto, CA home. To this point, his death has been called an apparent accidental drowning.
So the victim of 1991’s brutal police beat-down, and symbolic influence of 1992’s L.A. race riots has perished. He leaves behind his fiancee Cynthia Kelley, three daughters, and his immortal words of inspiration that shook the American public: “Can’t We All Get Along?”
Opinions among the American public have been considerably divisive when it comes to issues regarding King. And the news of his death has been no different.
Curious testimonies from Kelley and neighbors, as well as reasons for doubt brought forth by King’s friends and family, have generated public skepticism. However this skepticism is justified, as there are several discrepancies and questions that have yet to be answered.
Here are a few examples of what sounds fishy in the Rodney King investigation.
King has been referred to as an avid swimmer by news sources and friends. Neighbor Dee Schnepf says it was not uncommon for him to be swimming late at night or early in the morning, and adds that he liked swimming in the dark.
Johnnie Kelly, a close friend and former bodyguard of King, claims that he was a great swimmer, loved swimming, and it was common for him to swim in his pool while under the influence of alcohol.
Not to mention, King had been struggling with alcohol abuse throughout his life. He was even featured in Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew.
Overall, King was considered to be a very capable swimmer that swam regularly, according to friends and neighbors.
Given, it’s likely that he was intoxicated. However; friends claim that he commonly swam with a few drinks in him, and he’s battled alcohol addiction for years. So why all of a sudden would being intoxicated make him completely unable to stay afloat to the point where drowning would occur?
It’s not like there was an apparent head wound knocking him unconscious, or any clear signs of suicide or drug use.
King Sobbing Uncontrollably Before Drowning:
Sandra Gardea, a 31-year-old female neighbor of King, claims that she heard uncontrollable sobbing from 3am-5am coming from King in his backyard, before she heard a splash. The neighbor also claims that she heard King’s fiancee calling him to come back in the house. She says:
“It’s wasn’t like an argument … She was just saying, ‘Get in the house. Get in the house.'”
Bob Carlberg, another neighbor, adds:
“There was a lot of yelling back and forth, I couldn’t really make it out.”
In all, several neighbors claim that the sounds streaming from their home was “out of character.”
Family, friends, and neighbors together were shocked by the details of his death, thus far. Family and friends say he seemed happy, having so much to look forward to with planning his upcoming wedding and preparing for the birth of his first granddaughter. Neighbors say he was very popular within the community, claiming that he was kind, friendly, and even offered to cut their grass.
It just seems strange at King’s current stage in life, he would be having such episodes out by his swimming pool. It really seems as if something from King’s personal life may have played a role in his death, and it has just not been revealed yet.
Controversy Over Fiancee’s Testimony:
King’s fiancee Cynthia Kelley claims that she had been woken up in the middle of the night by King, who was banging on their glass windows and screaming. She says she then yelled, calling him to come inside several times to no avail.
Finally she claims to have heard a splash from inside the house, and responded by going outside to check on him.
She claims that by then it was too late, King was lying at the bottom of the pool. She then called 911, and police arrived at the scene four minutes later. At that point, CPR didn’t rouse a response from King’s lifeless body.
Kelley told police that he had been drinking and smoking marijuana and says she did not attempt to save him herself because she’s not a “strong swimmer.”
In the ensuing days, friends and family members have came forth accusing Kelley of lying about what happened.
Some say when hearing the personal account from Kelley, first-hand, more than once; that things changed around and that the whole story seems chopped and screwy.
That’s a given, considering that there’s been an immense amount of coverage on this tragic situation, and more questions than answers continue to surface.
Not to mention, four minutes, waiting for the police while watching the body of your fiance lie motionless at the bottom of a pool can seem like an eternity.
This may sound cynical, regarding Kelley’s swimming skills, it’s hard to believe that anyone could just act as a bystander, and not jump in the pool desperately to try to save a helpless loved one.
The LAPD, as of now, says they believe Kelley and feel they have no reason to question her honesty. They claim she has been “cooperative and forthright” in her account of the events leading up to Rodney King’s death.
Furthermore, law enforcement says that “people in the neighborhood are just speculating,” when asked about the doubts amongst friends, family, and other members of the community.
They add that any and all leads are being followed in this peculiar crime scene. After all, is there any reason for the friends and family of Rodney King not to trust the LAPD?!
This whole story really cannot be summed up, nor can a conclusion be met. There are differing accounts regarding King’s mental state, differing opinions regarding Cynthia Kelley’s testimony; and there are several questions remaining.
However; for the sake of good faith, we hope and trust that Cynthia Kelley and law enforcement have been honest in handling the investigation of Rodney King’s untimely death. May he rest in peace.