George Holliday, man who filmed Rodney King beating, dies of COVID-19 – Daily Bulletin

LOS ANGELES — George Holliday, a plumber who achieved local and national fame 30 years ago when he used his video camera to capture the infamous police beating of motorist Rodney King in Lake View Terrace, has died of COVID-19, it was reported . Monday.

George Holliday points to the roadside spot in the Lake View Terrace section of Los Angeles, where he videotaped Rodney King being punched in April 1992, during a press conference on Saturday, April 26, 1997. Holliday gave commentary on the upcoming five-year anniversary of the Los Angeles riots sparked by the acquittal of four Los Angeles police officers in the King’s beating. (AP Photo/EJ Flynn)

Citing a friend and business associate, TMZ reported that Holliday, 61, died Sunday at a Simi Valley hospital, where he had been since mid-August. He had not been vaccinated and had been on a ventilator for the past few days, the website reports.

On March 3, 1991, Holliday stood on the balcony of his apartment and used his Sony Video8 Handycam to tape four white Los Angeles police officers using batons, tasers, and feet to subdue a black man later identified as King, whose name quickly became synonymous with police brutality worldwide.

King, an unemployed construction worker who had been drinking and on probation for a robbery, was ordered to stop for speeding on a Los Angeles freeway. Finally, he stopped his car in front of Holliday’s apartment building, where the Los Angeles Police Department took over traffic control that culminated in a violent confrontation as officers trying to restrain King repeatedly pounded him while others watched.

King was left with skull fractures, broken bones and teeth, and permanent brain damage.

The commotion outside his window woke Holliday, who recorded the assault just after midnight and contacted KTLA5 later that day. The station became the first to broadcast the footage that would be seen around the world, becoming what would be considered a viral video today.

The video sparked an uproar within the Los Angeles Police Department, prompting the impeachment of then-chief Daryl Gates and the appointment of the Christopher Commission to investigate the LAPD’s internal workings and allegations of excessive force and institutional racism. to investigate.

In July 2020, plumber George Holliday attempted to sell at auction the video camera he used to film Rodney King’s beating. The starting bid was $225,000. It is unclear if the camera has been sold. (Photo by Nate D. Sanders Auctions via The New York Times)

When the four officers involved in the king’s assault were acquitted a year later by a Ventura County jury of excessive use of force, five days of rioting followed in Los Angeles, killing 54, injuring some 2,400, dozens destroyed buildings and other property damage, and more than 12,000 arrests. The acquitted police officers were later convicted of violating Rodney King’s civil rights in a federal trial.

Born in Sacramento, King died on June 17, 2012 in Rialto of what was described as an accidental drowning. He was 47. Before his death, he wrote ‘The Riot Within: My Journey From Rebellion to Redemption’.

King’s daughter, Lora Dene King, released a statement Monday in response to Holliday’s death, saying: “The King family will be eternally grateful to George Holliday, who had the courage and conviction to hold the LAPD responsible for their brutal mistreatment of my father Rodney, our condolences go out to his family and friends.”

The grainy images Holliday captured that night made the then 31-year-old plumber a pioneer of citizen journalism. The Sony video camera used to record the episode went up for auction last July, with bids starting at $225,000, but it was unclear if it ever sold.

Holliday told The New York Times last year that he still worked as a plumber and never took advantage of the video, which was still in the possession of federal authorities.

He told the paper that he bought the video camera about a month before the king’s beating, and he instinctively grabbed it when he and his wife were awakened by the police fight outside his window.

“You know what it’s like when you have a new piece of technology,” he told the paper. “You film anything and everything.”

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