LOS ANGELES - It wasn't easy to be the child of Rodney King. Looking back on her childhood, 36-year-old Lora King says it was hard to get an intimate moment with her very public father.
The man, who was dad to her, was the face of one of the nation's biggest police brutality cases that led to the 1992 riots in Los Angeles. His words "can we all get along" are seared into the history of the story.
Lora is now working to honor her father through the Rodney King Foundation.
She gives out scholarships to fathers so they can spend time with their children. It was something she started when Rodney was still alive. He died at the age of 47 in 2012. Lora says she avoided interviews with her father since then and can only hear those words "can we all get along."
In covering news for 30 years at FOX 11, I had interviewed Rodney when he was ready to talk five years after the police beating. In my exclusive interviews we met at his attorney's office but ended up at the beach where Rodney had taken up surfing. He liked the fact that he could be out there alone. A second interview came on the five year anniversary of the civil unrest that left 63 people dead. Then, Rodney said the words "can we all get along" just came to him, yet people thought it was a script.
Lora was 7-years-old when the beating happened after a pursuit on the 210 freeway. Lora says she learned of it as family members watched the news not realizing at first the name Rodney King on TV was actually her father. A battered King was wheeled out before the cameras. Upon seeing him in person, Lora says she was shocked. She says her father, with a smile on his face, motioned for the scared seven year old to come forward. Rodney had two other daughters as well.
25 years after our interviews with Rodney, Lora reflected on the riots after the acquittal of four LAPD officers. The liquor store in her neighborhood was burned down. She says going to public school to face fellow students was hard too.
She is still in shock over the death of her father being that he was a good swimmer. He drowned in the backyard of his home pool in Rialto. Autopsy reports show drugs and alcohol in his system. He also had a heart condition. She remembers her father as a classy man but not a perfect man.
Through the Rodney King Foundation her goal is a call for peace and to bridge gaps. She's met with LAPD officers for an event and says she recently worked with baseball's Yasiel Puig. Her next scholarships are being handed out later this month.