Rodney King Arrested for DUI

By Dirk Hanson 07/14/11

It’s been a rocky road for the man whose videotaped beating sparked the Los Angeles riots of 1992.

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Multiple DUIs and a stint on Celebrity Rehab.
Photo via gossiponthis

Rodney King, the Los Angeles motorist who gained unwelcomed fame in 1991 after his beating by four white officers was caught on video, has been arrested in Moreno Valley, California, on suspicion of driving under the influence. King, who has publicly battled alcoholism and drug addiction for years—and appeared on Celebrity Rehab in 2008—was briefly taken to jail and released on $2,500 bond. 

King has had a rocky time of it since the famous beating incident. The officers involved were eventually acquitted, which sparked the infamous Los Angeles riots in 1992. King received several million in damages in a civil suit. But King’s run-ins with the Los Angeles Police Department did not end. A year after the beating, he began alcohol rehab, and was placed on probation “after crashing his vehicle into a block wall in downtown Los Angeles with a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit,” according to police reports. In 1995, he was convicted of hit and run after an accident involving his wife. By 2001, King’s alcoholism was back in full force, and he was ordered into a 12-month drug treatment program after an arrest for indecent exposure and public intoxication. And it didn’t get any better for Rodney King. By 2003, the Los Angeles Times was writing that “police watched him weave through traffic in his Ford Expedition at more than 100 mph before plowing through a fence and into a San Bernardino house. He pleaded guilty to being under the influence of PCP and was sentenced to a six-month drug rehabilitation program followed by a 120-day jail sentence.” In an opinion piece for the Times, Alexandra Le Tellier wrote: “Now it’s time for King to learn from his mistakes and commit to his own rehabilitation, for his sake and for the sake of the many innocent people he endangers every time he gets behind the wheel drunk. And if King can’t do that, as is often the case with people who suffer from addiction, law enforcement shouldn’t treat him differently from any other accused drunk driver.”

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Dirk Hanson, MA, is a freelance science writer and the author of The Chemical Carousel: What Science Tells Us About Beating Addiction. He is also the author of The New Alchemists: Silicon Valley and the Microelectronics Revolution. He has worked as a business and science reporter for numerous magazines and trade publications including Wired, Scientific American, The Dana Foundation and more. He currently edits the Addiction Inbox blog. Email: [email protected]