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Rodney King had only been pulled over for a minor traffic misdemeanour.

But as officers flagged him down memories of a similar incident from two decades ago, must have come flooding back to him.

It has emerged that nearly 20 years to the day since he was pulled over and beaten by police in an incident that triggered the LA riots, King was again stopped by officers – but this time for jumping a red light.

While this time police simply issued a ticket , on March 3 1991 it was a different story.

After a high-speed car chase he was stopped and savagely beaten by baton-wielding officers.

The subsequent acquittal of the officers involved triggered wide-scale riots across LA that caused $1bn worth of damage.

His fiancee Cynthia Kelly said she was riding with King on Tuesday when the traffic stop occurred.

King was then was cited for driving without a license, she said.

The revelation of his latest brush with the law emerged ahead of his appearance tonight on a CNN special, Race and Rage: the Beating of Rodney King.

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Rodney King and his fiancee, Cynthia Kelly, who was a juror at a civil case where he was handed a $3.8m compensation payout

Brutal: Rodney King was hit 56 times with a baton and kicked six times by four police officers

Injuries: King suffered from skull fractures and brain and kidney damage after the brutal assault

The revelation of his latest brush with the law emerged ahead of his appearance tonight on a CNN special, Race and Rage: the Beating of Rodney King.

During the show he talks about how race relations have changed in the past 20 years.

King will also discuss how he has a symbol of police brutality, and talk about his life today.

King said he forgave the officers involved in the 1991 beating.

‘I’ve been given a break many times in life, everybody’s entitled to a break,’ he said. ‘I didn’t die, you know what I mean?’

On that March night in 1991 police tried to stop King, who was driving a car with two friends, on suspicion of drink driving.

According to King’s own statements, he refused to pull the car over because a DUI would violate his parole for a previous robbery conviction.

When he was finally stopped a nearby resident decided to film what was going on outside his door having heard the police sirens.


Marking 20 years since King’s beating, police chief Charlie Beck has said he is confident a similar police beating cannot happen again.

Sweeping reforms were made to LAPD in the way it uses force, deals with complaints and eased community tensions in crime-plagued communities.

He added that civilian surveillance has helped with practically everyone having cameras on their mobile phones.

He said: ‘Inarguably, we are a much better department. I have more faith in my police officers than to believe a Rodney King incident would happen today.

‘There are still real issues of trust in some sectors of the community. There’s still work to be done.’

George Holliday went out and recorded a brutal attack on King who was beaten with batons as he lay on the ground.

King can be seen crawling away and cowering in pain as they hit him 56 times with their batons and kick him six times as he shields himself at the side of the road.

He suffered skull fractures and brain and kidney damage after the brutal assault.

Eleven months later on February 3, 1992, four police officers were taken to court over the beating but when three of them were acquitted and a mistrial was declared on the fourth rioting broke out.

Within half an hour of the verdict a crowd of African Americans had gathered outside Los Angeles County Courthouse, even though the case was heard elsewhere.

Two hours later and the city had turned into a war zone with widespread looting, fires and people were badly beaten up.

By the end of the riots 55 people were dead, 2,000 injured and 12,000 had been arrested.

Two officers, Sergeant Stacey Koon and officer Laurence Powell, were later convicted of federal civil rights violations.

On the third day of rioting, King said: ‘People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along?’ – a day after Bill Cosby went on TV asking people to stop what they were doing and watch the final episode of “The Cosby Show” instead.

King has not fully stayed out of trouble since then – in 2004 he pleaded guilty to driving while on drugs and reckless driving.

His fiancee, Ms Kelly, was a juror in King’s civil case against the City of Los Angeles.

According to witnesses she winked at him throughout the case and King claimed he pictured her with a

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