In spring 1992, South Central Los Angeles was on fire for nearly a week. The uprisings were sparked by the acquittal of four white police officers in the beating of Rodney King.
But tensions were growing for a long time before that — not only between cops and residents but between Black residents and Korean American shop owners. That crystallized in 1991 when a 15 -year-old girl named Latasha Harlins was shot and killed by a convenience store owner named Soon Ja Du.
Former LAPD Commander Michael Bostic talked about it then: “She had the money in her hand. You could see the money in the video tape. And the suspect grabbed the backpack, and there became a physical altercation over the backpack. And as our victim turned to walk away from the scene, the suspect raised a weapon and shot the victim in the back of the head.”
Latasha Harlins would have turned 45 this year on January 1. On that day, a mural featuring her portrait was unveiled. It’s on the front of the Sutton Recreation Center on Hoover Street where she used to hang out.