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Rodney King, Man At Center Of Los Angeles Riots, Pleads Guilty To Reckless Driving After Arrest

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Rodney King, the man whose videotaped beating at the hands of Los Angeles police officers became the flashpoint for the 1992 Los Angeles riots, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor reckless driving.

King was arrested last summer by local deputies for allegedly driving drunk. Under the plea deal, King admitted guilt to the lesser charge of reckless driving -- his blood-alcohol level was under the legal limit -- and will serve 20 days of home detention and three years probation. He was also fined $500 and ordered to complete a sobriety education program.

In an ironic twist, drunken driving was a major part of King's entry into the national consciousness. On March 3, 1991, King was pulled over by LAPD officers after he was speeding and driving drunk. Once they stopped him, the officers proceeded to kick and beat King with billy clubs. The beating was caught on tape, and police brutality against blacks became national news. The subsequent acquittal of the four officers involved in the beating sparked the Los Angeles riots, in which 53 people died.

King has battled alcoholism, which runs in his family, for decades. "I watched people die over alcoholism in my family on almost a yearly basis," he told LAist in 2009. He has been in and out of treatment programs, including a stint on the reality show, Dr. Drew's
Celebrity Apprentice
.

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