Most of you don’t know who she is but she’s important. Her name is Latasha Harlins. In 1991, at the ripe age of 15, Latasha went to her local Korean owned food mart and never made it out. The store owner’s wife, Soon Ja Du, mistook her for trying to steal a bottle of orange juice and a minor struggle ensued. Du grabbed Latasha and ended up getting pushed to the ground. Du then went and got her gun and pointed it at Latasha. Latasha bends down, picks up the orange juice, and places it on the counter. As Latasha had walked away to leave the store, Du shot Latasha in the back of the head at a 3 foot distance, killing her immediately. Du tried to claim self defense, but there were 2 eyewitnesses
and the store’s security camera showed otherwise. The jury convicted Du and advised the judge to go with the maximum sentence of 16 years. Du walked away with 400 hours of community service, 5 years probation, and a $500 fine, as the judge said although Mrs. D acted inappropriately, her actions were justified. Judge
Joyce Karlin states that Mrs. Du was the victim, Latasha is the criminal and would be standing in front of her for assault on a store clerk had she not died. The slaughter of Latasha Harlins is one of major factors in the initiating of the LA Riots.
We only hear about Rodney King but she is the original #SayHerName. Tupac mentioned her name in several songs as well as dedicated the iconic song “Keep Ya Head Up” to Latasha.