Yesterday marked 29 years since Korean store owner Soon Ja Du shot and killed 15-year-old Latasha Harlins.’ Du shot Harlin’s in the back of the head over a $2 bottle of juice March 1991 in South Central, L.A.
The shooting happened just 13 days before the Rodney King riots.
“Du, herself, had been on edge. Her family ran several stores, but she rarely worked at this location. “Her son had recently testified in court against gang members in the area because they were stealing from the store and harassing staff, so Du had taken over for him that morning,” SCPR.org
Both the King and Harlin’s incident highlights the unequal protection that African-American’s have long received under the law. Although King and Harlins’ are two different people, under two different circumstances and from two different generations–those who violated their bodies through violence were still vindicated in court.
Black Lives continue to remain under constant threat because of the lack of value that others have towards Black life and their feelings being validated by court rulings.
One of the most stomach-churning aspects of Harlin’s murder is that Du would only see probation despite being convicted of manslaughter. The jury recommended the maximum sentence of 16 years but Judge Joyce Fahey decided that Du would serve no prison time.