Profile: Rodney G. King

Compiled by Times researcher Nona Yates

Rodney King did “not want to see the pain and the destruction after the verdict that took place last May and April.”

--Attorney Milton Grimes, when asked what his client had said before Saturday’s verdicts in the federal trial were announced.

Rodney G. King, the central figure in the trials of the four LAPD officers charged with beating him, has kept a low profile since Saturday’s verdicts. Unlike the state trial, in which he did not testify and which ended in not guilty verdicts, King took the stand during the federal trial. Here is a look at King.


Born: April 2, 1965, in Sacramento; grew up in Altadena.

Education: John Muir High School in Pasadena. Dropped out in 1984, his senior year.

Personal: Married.


At the time of the now-infamous beating, King, a onetime construction worker, was on parole for a 1989 robbery of a Monterey Park store, for which he had served one year at the California Correctional Center in Susanville.

After his release, he was hired as a temporary laborer at Dodger Stadium, a dream job for the former high school baseball player.


He has filed a multimillion-dollar federal lawsuit against the city that alleges civil rights violations. It has been on hold pending the outcome of the officers’ federal trial.

Last September, King let pass a deadline for accepting a $1.75-million settlement from the city. His attorney at the time, Steven A. Lerman, blasted the offer as insufficient. He had sought nearly $5.9 million.

He changed attorneys in October, hiring Grimes. The specifics of the change were confidential, Grimes said.

King has had other brushes with the law. He was investigated for allegedly trying to run down an undercover LAPD officer who spotted him with a transvestite prostitute, his wife reported that he assaulted her and he was taken into custody for allegedly driving drunk. King was not charged in any of those incidents.

King has been making more frequent appearances in public. In December, he spent two hours answering questions on a live call-in radio show on KJLH-FM. At that time he pledged to establish a youth scholarship and become involved in efforts to rebuild the city. He also attended a Dodger game on opening day last week.