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Rodney King remembered as 'symbol of forgiveness'

Joe Klamar / AFP - Getty Images file

Rodney King is seen on April 30 speaking with fans in Los Angeles before an event promoting his autobiographical book "The Riot Within...My Journey from Rebellion to Redemption."

Rodney King was remembered during a Saturday service at Forest Lawn in the Hollywood Hills as a "symbol of forgiveness" who bore the scars of his infamous beating with dignity.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who delivered the eulogy, said at a news conference before the funeral that King never showed bitterness to the officers who beat him.

"People should not be judged by the mistakes that they make, but by how they rise above them," Sharpton said. "Rodney had risen above his mistakes, he never mocked anyone, not the police, not the justice system, not anyone."


Sharpton added that King had become a "symbol of forgiveness."

King was found in the bottom of his swimming pool in the backyard of his Rialto home on June 17. His death at age 47 is being treated as an accidental drowning, though autopsy results have still not been released.

Family members held a private service early Saturday, followed by a public memorial and burial.

"I will remember his smile, his unconditional love," said daughter Laura Dene King, 28, to a phalanx of news cameras outside the Hall of Freedom at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills. "He was a great father, a great friend; he loved everyone. People will just have to smile when they think of him."

Donors who had contributed to the funeral and other arrangements included TV producer Anthony Zuiker, who donated $10,000.

Rodney Glen King, the man who was at the center of a national debate on civil rights after he was brutally beaten by LAPD in 1991 is dead at the age of 47.

"We lost a symbol, but they lost a loved one," said Zuiker, creator of the CSI: series. "Rodney was a healer."

King became famous after his videotaped Lake View Terrace beating by Los Angeles police in 1991 was broadcast worldwide, as were photos of his bloodied and bruised face.

Those images became a national symbol of police brutality.

"That showed what was evident all over the United States, that police brutality was alive and well," observed Lawrence Tolliver, the owner of well-known barber shop in South LA.

When four officers charged with felony assault on King were acquitted by a jury with no black members, the verdict sparked a riot that lasted for six days and brought U.S. military presence to patrol LA streets.

During the unrest, which left more than 50 people dead and caused more than $1 billion in property damage, King famously pleaded for peace by asking, "Can we all get along?"

King's words were embroidered on the lid of his casket, next to a portrait of him.

Grant Hindsley / AP

The Rev. Al Sharpton, right, speaks to reporters before the public memorial service for Rodney King at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles on Saturday.

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