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Sunday, July 1, 2012

Rodney King's Funeral Eulogized By Rev. Al Sharpton: R.I.P. My Courageous Brother

Rodney King Laid To Rest At Forest Lawn

One of Rodney King’s daughters remembered him not as a civil rights figure, but as a “gentle giant” of a father, as he was buried Saturday.

“I will remember his smile, his unconditional love,” said Laura Dene King, 28, to a phalanx of news cameras outside the Hall of Freedom at Forest Lawn-Hollywood Hills, where her father was about to be interred.

“He was a great father, a great friend, he loved everyone. People will just have to smile when they think of him,” she said.

Rev. Jesse Jackson and other civil rights luminaries were planning to attend today’s funeral for King, whose beating at the hands of Los Angeles police in 1992 crystallized the nation once again over race relations.

King, 47, was found in cardiac arrest two weeks ago at the bottom of his swimming pool in Rialto.

He died at a nearby hospital.

Toxicology results are still pending.

At a pre-funeral news conference, MSNBC commentator Rev. Al Sharpton said King “bore his scars with grace and dignity, and he never showed bitterness to the officers who beat him.

“People should not be judged by the mistakes that they make, but by how they rise above them,” Sharpton said. “Rodney had risen above his mistakes, he never mocked anyone, not the police, not the justice system, not anyone.

“He became a symbol of forgiveness,” Shaprton said.

Donors large and small had chipped in for the funeral and other arrangements, and filed into the faux-colonial structure at the cemetery. TV producer Anthony Zuiker donated $10,000, and said he was at the funeral “to be with Rodney’s family.

“We lost a symbol, but they lost a loved one,” said Zuiker, creator of the “CSI” franchise. “Rodney was a healer.”

King’s longtime attorney, Steven Lerman, said most people made incorrect assumptions about King, not knowing his real background. King had grown up in a mixed-race environment in middle-class Altadena, Lerman said today.

King’s plaintive “can we all just get along” lament, at the height of the vicious L.A. Riots, was a direct reflection of that background, and of the tolerance taught to King by his mother, Odessa King, Lerman said.

“That didn’t just come out of the blue,” he said,.

“There was a certain playfulness in his spirit that always shined through,” Lerman said. He recalled his disbelief when King told him he had never seen the Watts Towers, a South Central L.A. landmark, and his joy at seeing them for the first time.

Today’s services were held nearly two weeks after King’s death, a delay that family members attributed to financial woes and disagreement about how it was to be handled. In the end, the family decided for a public ceremony, and allowed a pool TV camera inside.

Rodney King remembered at funeral as forgiving man

Rodney King was remembered in Los Angeles on Saturday as a forgiving man who bore the scars of his infamous beating with dignity.

The Rev. Al Sharpton, who delivered the eulogy at Forest Lawn Hollywood Hills, said before the funeral that King never showed bitterness to the officers who beat him.

"People should not be judged by the mistakes that they make, but by how they rise above them," Sharpton said outside the Hall of Freedom at the sprawling cemetery grounds. "Rodney had risen above his mistakes.

He never mocked anyone — not the police, not the justice system, not anyone."

"He became a symbol of forgiveness," Sharpton said.

The funeral came nearly two weeks after King was found dead at the bottom of the swimming pool at his Rialto, Calif. home on June 17.

He was 47.

Family members held a private service early in the day, followed by a public memorial and burial. Mourners signed a guest book and surveyed newspaper clippings from the days when King dominated headlines in 1991 and 1992.

A large photograph of a smiling King was set on an easel.

Daughter Laura Dene King, 28, said she was proud to have had her father in her life for as long as she did, especially considering she almost lost him when she was six years old.

"I will remember his smile, his unconditional love," she said.

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Sources: AP, CBS Local, CBS News, CNN, Youtube, Google Maps

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