Rodney King to marry juror who secured his $3.8m court pay-out

It was an emblematic case of police brutality and racism, which ignited America and prompted almost a week of violent rioting. Yet, after 19 years and a multi-million dollar payout, divorce and a stint on reality TV, there might just be some kind of happy ending for Rodney King.

King, who in 1991 was the victim of a brutal beating by Los Angeles police officers, is reported to be marrying one of the jurors who ensured he got a $3.8m (£2.5m) settlement.

His case sparked major riots in LA in 1992, when the police officers involved in the assault were acquitted. The riots resulted in 53 deaths, and several blocks of the city were torched, causing an estimated $1bn of damage.

But out of the rubble, a romance emerged. Cynthia Kelley, one of King's jurors in his successful 1994 compensation case, had pushed to award King a $3.8m payout. She told website RadarOnline.com this week that "during deliberations, the other jurors said, 'Let's just award him $100,000, you know he's just gonna blow it anyway', but she had stood firm. Kelley was the only black member of the jury. After the trial, the pair conducted a secret relationship. But things didn't work out and the couple lost contact – until King, 44, rang Kelley out the blue four months ago and rekindled their romance.

The couple have now revealed just how quickly after the trial the initial spark was lit. "Our first date was the next day after the trial when Rodney's lawyer and Rodney met me in a local pizzeria in Newport Beach," Kelley told Radar. At the time, both King and Kelley were married, although they both later got divorced.

Despite their swift attraction, the couple separated when King took part in a reality TV show. Having battled with alcohol and drug addiction, King appeared on the VH1 show, Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew. But four months ago, the couple patched things up when King telephoned Kelley to ask if she was still single.

"We hadn't spoken to each other for many years, and it just so happened that we reconnected," Kelley is quoted as saying. "It was like we were never apart from one another."

The assault took place in 1991, when King, a taxi driver, was dragged out of his vehicle by four white police officers, following a car chase through the San Fernando Valley. He was repeatedly kicked, punched and beaten with clubs at the side of the road. A passing amateur cameraman captured the assault on video, which was later shown on national television. The footage inflamed the American public when it was aired.

At a trial the following year, the four officers were all acquitted. The decision prompted outrage across LA, and six nights of rioting followed. King made a tearful television appearance during the riots, appealing for the violence to stop: "Can't we all just get along, can we stop making it horrible for the older people and the kids?"

When King later sued the city of Los Angeles he was awarded the $3.8m in damages, although it is thought that more than half the money went on legal fees.

The on-off couple are now engaged to be married, although a date has yet to be set. King called Kelley "a godsend, a blessing in my life" in the Radar interview. "I don't know what I would have done without her in my life... I can't wait to make her my wife!"

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Hayley Williams performs with Paramore in New York
musicParamore singer says 'Steal Your Girl' is itself stolen from a New Found Glory hit
Sport
Ronaldinho signs the t-shirt of a pitch invader
footballProof they are getting bolder
News
peopleStella McCartney apologises over controversial Instagram picture
News
William Hague
people... when he called Hague the county's greatest
Voices
voicesBy the man who has
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
Ed Sheeran performs at his Amazon Front Row event on Tuesday 30 September
musicHe spotted PM at private gig
Sport
Arsene Wenger tried to sign Eden Hazard
footballAfter 18 years with Arsenal, here are 18 things he has still never done as the Gunners' manager
News
Floyd
newsFloyd 'Creeky' Creekmore still performed regularly to raise money for local hospitals
Extras
indybestKeep extra warm this year with our 10 best bedspreads
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: Real Staffing Group is seeking Traine...

Year 6 Teacher (interventions)

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: We have an exciting opportunity...

PMLD Teacher

Competitive: Randstad Education Manchester: SEN Teacher urgently required for ...

Real Estate Solicitor 2+PQE - City

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - HIGH VALUE REAL ESTATE / RESID...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?