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LOS ANGELES – George Holiday, the Los Angeles plumber who shot the grainy video of four white police officers beating black motorist Rodney King in 1991, has died of complications from COVID-19, a friend said Monday. Said to

According to longtime friend and former colleague Robert Wollenweber, Holiday, 61, died on Sunday at a Los Angeles hospital where he had been for more than a month. Holiday had not been vaccinated and was on a ventilator in recent days after contracting pneumonia, Wollenweber said.


On the night of March 3, 1991, Holiday was woken up by a traffic stop outside his San Fernando Valley home. He went out to film it with his new video camera, which caught Los Angeles officers punching, kicking, and using stun guns at King even after he was on the ground.

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A year later, Holiday’s out-of-focus footage – about 9 minutes’ worth – was a key piece of evidence in the criminal trial of four officers for assault and excessive use of force.

When a jury acquitted all the officers on 29 April 1992, widespread violence erupted in the city. Hundreds of businesses were looted and destroyed over several days. Entire blocks of homes and shops were engulfed in flames. More than 60 people were killed in shootings or other violence, most of them in South Los Angeles.

The rebellion took the rest of the country by surprise, but longtime residents said tensions had been brewing in South L.A. for years and that King’s decision was just the tipping point.

On the third day of the riots, Raja went to the TV to plead for calm, asking in a trembling voice, “Can we all get along?”

King sued Los Angeles for beatings and was awarded $3.8 million in 1994, but he told the Associated Press in 2012 that he lost most of that money to bad investments. King drowned in his backyard swimming pool on June 17, 2012, at the age of 47.

Holiday’s death was first reported by TMZ.com.

Holiday put the Sony camcorder he used to record the record up for auction last July, with bids starting at $225,000. It was not clear whether it was ever sold.

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Holiday told new York Times Last year that he was still working as a plumber and never profited from the video.

He said he bought the camera about a month ago and that he instinctively grabbed it when he awoke to the noise outside his window.

“You know what it’s like when you have a new technology,” he told the Times. “You film anything and everything.”

Holiday said in 2017 that he was working on a documentary about his role in the King case, but it was unclear whether anything happened to that project.