Rodney King

In 1991, the world watched in horror as unarmed African-American motorist Rodney King was beaten by seven Los Angeles policemen, an act that was videotaped by a stranger and released to media outlets. The police, who claimed King was resisting arrest, though the videotape did not support this, were cleared of any criminal wrongdoing by a jury, resulting in the L.A. Riots of 1992. In subsequent years, King suffered from alcoholism and trauma resulting from the beating, which was documented when he appeared on a season of reality show Celebrity Rehab.  On June 17, 2011, he was pronounced dead in Rialto, California after his fiancée found him at  the bottom of the couple's pool. King was 47 years old.