Rodney King 911 tape: ‘He’s at the bottom of the pool’

LOS ANGELES — In the five frantic minutes Rodney King’s fiancee spent on the phone with 911 dispatchers Sunday, she is almost impossible to understand.

“Oh, my God, please hurry,” Cynthia Kelley begins on the 911 tape, released Tuesday by the Rialto Police Department. “Rodney King. Please. It’s Rodney King.”

Kelley called 911 at 5:25 a.m. Sunday after spotting King at the bottom of the pool in his Rialto backyard, authorities said. Officers pulled King out of the pool, unresponsive, and attempted CPR, but he was pronounced dead at an area hospital 46 minutes later.

Kelley is largely unintelligible in the 911 tape, crying, yelling and repeatedly begging, “Please hurry up, please. Oh, my God.”

Kelley, who is not a strong swimmer, tells dispatchers she “heard something fall, like a table” and saw King at the bottom of the pool.

“I’ve been throwing stuff to try to wake him up,” she said.

Kelley begs for help as dispatchers try to get information – the address, whether King is breathing.

“How old is he?” one dispatcher asked.

“Rodney King,” Kelley said. “The guy that got beat by police. He’s 47 years old. He’s not moving.”

Near the end of the tape, Kelley says she has to call her mother and breaks down into sobs. A siren can be heard in the background.

“The police are there?” a dispatcher asks at the end of the tape.

Kelley can be heard talking to officers: “He’s at the bottom of the pool.”

Talk to us

More in Local News

An emergency responder uses a line to navigate the steep slope along a Forest Service road where seven people were injured Saturday when a vehicle went off the road near the Boulder River trailhead west of Darrington. (Darrington Fire District)
7 hurt in crash off cliff west of Darrington; 1 airlfited

A vehicle crashed on a forest service road near Boulder River, leading to a major rescue operation.

The aftermath of a fire that damaged a unit at the Villas at Lakewood apartment complex in Marysville on Saturday. (Marysville Fire District)
2 families displaced by Marysville apartment fire

Nobody was injured when the fire broke out Saturday morning on 27th Avenue NE.

Mukilteo asks for input on housing density, and it’s complicated

Here’s a guide to what voters should know about the advisory ballot measure. What does it actually do?

Kevin Gallagher (from the Snohomish County Official Local Voters’ Pamphlet November 2, 2021 General Election)
Kevin Gallagher, a Marysville City Council candidate, dies

Kevin Gallagher, 52, died at home of natural causes. He was challenging incumbent Councilmember Tom King.

Clouds hover over the waters off Everett's western edge Monday morning. (Sue Misao / The Herald)
Get ready for La Niña and a soggy winter in Snohomish County

After a hot, dry summer, Washington feels like Washington again. Damp. Gray. Normal.

Top (L-R): Louis Harris, Peter Zieve, Kevin Stoltz. Bottom (L-R): Tom Jordal, Steve Schmalz, Alex Crocco.
Race for Mukilteo City Council is a mix of old and new names

Housing, waterfront and public safety top the list of concerns for candidates.

A $10,000 taxidermied grizzly bear for sale at the new Everett Consignment on Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021 in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Oh my! An Instagram wonderland of loveseats, rhinos and bears

Everett Consignment in the former Bramble building has 60,000 square feet of new and vintage items.

Downtown Coupeville on Whidbey Island, March 2021. (Harry Anderson)
Whidbey Island real estate prices continue to climb

Despite a slight lull in August and September, it continues to be a seller’s market on Whidbey.

Gold Bar man airlifted after trying to start fire with gas

The man suffered severe burns after he used gasoline to start a fire in his yard.

Most Read