A year before the riots that tore apart Los Angeles in 1992, a Korean shop owner shot dead a 15-year old girl named Latasha Harlins over a bottle of orange juice.

Harlins, a teenager from Compton, L.A. County, had gone into a liquor store on March 16, 1991, to get a bottle of orange juice. It is unclear whether she meant to steal it, as the shop owner, Soon Ja Du, accused her of doing

What’s clear is that after an argument between the two women, Harlins was dead at Du’s hand. Du was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, although her sentence did not include any jail time. The Compton community was outraged by the results. Yet, a year later, when fires, lootings and murders swept throughout Los Angeles county, and the tensions between the black and Korean community there became widely known — the media did not mention Harlins’ name. Instead, the name most frequently mentioned was Rodney King, a black man who was beaten brutally by police officers Read more…

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