George Holliday, the man who filmed the Rodney King beating, dies of COVID-19

George Holliday points to the spot where he filmed the Rodney King beating.
In this April 26, 1997, file photo, George Holliday points to the spot along a roadside in the Lake View Terrace section of Los Angeles where he videotaped Rodney King being beaten in April 1992, during a news conference in Los Angeles. AP Photo/E.J. Flynn, File
  • George Holliday, the man who captured footage of the Rodney King beating, died from COVID-19 complications on Sunday.
  • Holliday recorded nearly ten minutes of four white LAPD officers beating the King in 1991.
  • A longtime friend told The Associated Press that Holliday was not vaccinated against COVID-19.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

George Holliday, the Los Angeles plumber who in 1991, used his new camcorder to capture video of four white LAPD officers beating Black motorist Rodney King, died of COVID-19 complications, according to The Associated Press.

Holliday, 61, died at a Los Angeles hospital on Sunday, after he had spent more than a month being treated for the virus, according to Robert Wollenweber, a friend and former coworker.

Holliday, who had not been vaccinated against COVID-19, had spent recent days on a ventilator after contracting pneumonia, Wollenweber told the outlet.

On March 3, 1991, Holliday was awakened by the sound of a traffic stop outside his house. Last year, he told The New York Times that he instinctively grabbed his new camera after the noise woke him.

“You know how it is when you have a new piece of technology,” he told the Times. “You film anything and everything.”

Holliday recorded nearly ten minutes of grainy footage outside his San Fernando Valley home that night, as four white LAPD officers punched, kicked, and used a stun gun on King, even after he had fallen to the ground. The footage played an integral role in the criminal trial for the four officers who faced assault and excessive use of force charges.

But when a jury acquitted all four of the officers in April 1992, longstanding tensions in the city erupted into days of violence. Stores were looted, homes were burned, and more than 60 people died.

King eventually sued the city over the beating and won $US3.8 ($AU5) million in 1994. In 2012, at the age of 47, he drowned in his backyard pool.

Last July, Holliday put the recorder he had used to capture the beating up for auction, starting the bidding at $US225,000 ($AU311,080). It is unclear if the camera ever sold.

In an interview last year, he told The Times he had never profited off the recording and continued to work as a plumber.