George Holliday, Who Filmed Rodney King Beating, Dies From COVID-19

In Summary

The man who filmed the beating of Rodney King on March 3, 1991 has died from COVID-19. 

George Holliday filmed the horrific beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers more than 30 years ago.  

On Sunday, the 61-year-old died from COVID-19, according to his friend Robert Wollenweber. “Unfortunately, he didn’t want to get vaccinated. He wanted to get the COVID so he could build immunities and his wish came true about a month ago,” Wollenweber told CNN. “He got sicker and sicker and was having trouble breathing, so they finally took him to the hospital. When his oxygen levels went down, they put them on a ventilator. And then he got pneumonia and his kidneys were shutting down and he had internal bleeding. And then he died Sunday.”  

RELATED: Darnella Frazier, Teen Who Recorded Murder of George Floyd, Awarded a Pulitzer Prize 

Wollenweber, who met Holliday in 1996, said he does not know how he caught COVID-19 but thinks it might have been exposed at work. “We were both plumbers and we go to people’s houses every day, so I’m assuming he picked it up from one of his customers,” Wollenweber said. 

FILE – In this March 28, 1991, file photo, George Holliday, the man who videotaped the beating of Black motorist Rodney King by four Los Angeles Police Department officers, holds his camera after a news conference, in Los Angeles. Holliday has died from COVID-19, it was reported Monday, Sept. 20, 2021. (AP Photo/Craig Fujii, File)

Holliday filmed the King beating on March 3, 1991 from the balcony of his apartment. The video was broadcast on television and was a key part in the trial against the later acquitted officers.  

Their acquittal later sparked the L.A. riots, resulting in dozens of deaths and thousands of injuries and arrests. The city suffered about $1 billion in property damage after more than 3,000 buildings were burned in response to the officers being cleared.  

RELATED: Rodney King’s Daughter Reflects on Police Brutality, 29 Years After the LA Riots 

Lora Dene King, Rodney King’s daughter and the CEO of the Rodney King Foundation, spoke to CNN, expressing her gratitude for Holliday. “The King family will forever be grateful to George Holliday who had the courage and conviction to hold the LAPD accountable in their brutal beating of my father, Rodney,” she said. “Our condolences are extended to his family and friends.”  

If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by this story, resources are available here.  

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