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Leaders React To Rodney King’s Death

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(credit: ROBERT SULLIVAN/AFP/GettyImages)

(credit: ROBERT SULLIVAN/AFP/GettyImages)

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LOS ANGELES (CBS/AP) — Los Angeles Councilmember Bernard C. Parks said Sunday he is saddened by the death of Rodney King.

Parks, who served as chief of the Los Angeles Police Department from 1997 to 2002, said King’s beating “will forever be thought of as one of the ugliest moments in the history of the City of Los Angeles and its police department.”

In a written statement, Parks said the incident allowed for “the creation of the Christopher Commission, which pushed for the creation of an inspector general position at LAPD and recommended the first-of-its-kind officer accountability program.

Parks was one of two African American police chiefs hired after voters changed the City Charter as recommended by the post-King reforms advocated by the Christopher Commission.

Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement that King was a symbol of the civil and anti-police brutality movement.

“Through all that he had gone through with his beating and his personal demons he was never one to not call for reconciliation and for people to overcome and forgive,” Sharpton wrote. “History will record that it was Rodney King’s beating and his actions that made America deal with the excessive misconduct of law enforcement.”

An autopsy on King is expected to be conducted within 48 hours, the Associated Press reported.

King was found about 5:25 a.m. Sunday at the bottom of a pool in his Rialto home by his fiancée who alerted authorities. Rialto police Capt. Randy De Anda said preliminary information showed no signs of foul play.

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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