George Holliday, Who Filmed King Beating, Dies of COVID

LA plumber never made much money from his Rodney King footage
By Liz MacGahan,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 21, 2021 5:32 PM CDT
George Holliday, Who Filmed King Beating, Dies of COVID
George Holliday, in 1997, points to the spot along a roadside in =Lake View Terrace in Los Angeles where he videotaped Rodney King being beaten in April 1992. Holliday used his video camera to tape the infamous Los Angeles police beating of motorist Rodney King. He died from COVID-19 Monday.   (AP Photo/E.J. Flynn, File)

Around 30 years ago, George Holliday woke up after midnight to a ruckus outside his bedroom window, grabbed his brand new video camera, and caught four Los Angeles Police officers beating Rodney King. The next day, curious what had happened, he called the police to find out what happened, learned nothing, and called the local news station. Journalists at KTLA were shocked by the video and broadcast the footage. Later, when the officers were acquitted of assault charges on April 29, 1992, riots broke out, and Holliday said he got death threats for releasing the tape. Holliday died Sunday of COVID, KTLA reports. He was not vaccinated, and, still working as a plumber, was in and out of people’s houses all day. He spent his last few days on a ventilator. He was 61.

Holliday once met the subject of his shocking footage, the Washington Post reports. They were at the same gas station about a year after the riots when King called out to him. Holliday said he didn’t recognize him at first because he had recovered from most of his injuries at that point. King drowned in 2012 at the age of 47. Holliday had taped the beating partly because the video camera was new and he was trying it out, and partly because he’d grown up in Argentina in a time when "people would get disappeared with no due process," he said. But, the grandson of a London police officer, he also said he had great respect for police. Last year, he tried to sell his Sony Handycam; it’s not clear whether he succeeded. He also had said he wanted to make a documentary about the King case, NPR reports. (More obituary stories.)

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