Rodney King pleads innocent to drug charge

Wednesday October 03, 2001

POMONA, Calif. (AP) — Rodney King, victim of the police beating that led to the 1992 Los Angeles riot, pleaded innocent Tuesday to a misdemeanor charge of being under the influence of the drug PCP. 

King, 36, represented himself during his Superior Court appearance, speaking briefly to enter his plea, to say he understood the charge and confirm his identity. 

The charge stemmed from an Aug. 28 arrest by Claremont police at a hotel. Police said King mistakenly told a clerk that his car had been stolen. The clerk told officers that King, whose girlfriend had taken his car, appeared to be under the influence of drugs. 

If convicted, King would face a drug diversion program, said Sandi Gibbons, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. 

In a separate legal action, Pomona police on Tuesday presented Los Angeles County prosecutors a case involving King’s arrest Saturday after a traffic stop near a park. 

Police said they received complaints that King was bothering people and exposed himself to others. According to police, he displayed symptoms of PCP intoxication. 

King has twice spent 90 days in jail for misdemeanor domestic abuse convictions in the past few years. 

He remains on probation in San Bernardino County for a March 1999 incident in which he admitted abusing the mother of his teen-age daughter in Fontana. 

King’s 1991 beating led to riots when four officers were acquitted of state charges. Two officers were later convicted in federal court of violating King’s civil rights. 

King won a $3.8 million settlement in a civil rights lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles.