Rodney King, whose 1991 beating at the hands of Los Angeles police officers led to days of rioting, pleaded guilty today to misdemeanor reckless driving in connection with his arrest in Moreno Valley last July.
King entered his plea through his public defender and was not present during a status hearing before Riverside County Superior Court Commissioner Bambi Moyer.
Under the plea deal, the District Attorney’s Office agreed to drop two misdemeanor counts of driving under the influence in exchange for the 46-year-old’s admission of guilt on the lesser offense.
Moyer sentenced King to 20 days home detention, which he will serve at his Rialto home, and three years probation. He was also fined $500 and ordered to complete a nine-month sobriety education program.
Had he been convicted of the original charges, King could have faced a year in jail. He has remained free on his own recognizance since his arrest.
Last July 12, King was pulled over by sheriff’s deputies for committing several traffic violations in the area of Frederick and Brabham streets.
After deputies administered a field sobriety test, the ex-con was arrested on suspicion of DUI. He was quoted in news reports saying he had been using marijuana, for which he had a doctor’s prescription.
In March 1991, King, high on PCP, led California Highway Patrol and LAPD officers on a high-speed chase on the Foothill (210) Freeway, culminating in his videotaped beating by four officers. Their acquittals by a Simi Valley jury the following year led to rioting in Los Angeles.
The officers were later convicted on federal charges.
King has had run-ins with the law since then, including multiple arrests for DUI and illegal drug use and a 2003 conviction for reckless and impaired driving.