Will Justice for Trayvon Martin End Up Like Latasha Harlins?.

On March 16, 1991, a 15 year old African-American girl named Latasha Harlins - enter Empire Liquor Market store in Compton, California and proceeded to grab an orange juice – and place it in her back pack. Before she could pay for the item, Korean store owner Soon Ja Du confronted her – and accused her of stealing, even though Harlins was carrying the money to pay for the juice in her hand. Du grabbed Harlins’ sweater and tried to grab her back pack, and she fought back by punching Du in the face. The juice fell to the ground during the initial struggle. Harlins picked it up, placed it on the counter – and turned away to leave the store. Du took out her handgun and fired, hitting Harlins in the back of the head. Harlins died instantly – still clutching 2 dollars in her hand.

Du concocted a story that the store was being robbed, which is the reason why she used deadly force. Two eye witnesses and a video were presented to dispute those claims. Du was arrested and charged with voluntary manslaughter. Du claimed it was self-defense (sounds familiar) and was afraid for her life. Her defense counsel went on to say that the handgun used in the crime, was altered and had a hair trigger. The jury of her peers did not buy the story and convicted her of voluntary manslaughter, which the recommended sentence at the time was 16 years in prison.  The Judge, Joyce Karlin who is white, presided over the case and gave Du 5 years probation, community service and a $400 fine. Karlin claimed that she elected to give Du probation because she had a clean record at the time and did not demonstrate any violence in the past. According to this judge she was indicating that Harlins’ death was worth a $400 dollar fine and community service. As a result, of her ruling in the Du case District Attorney Ira Reiner disqualified her from trying anymore felonies. In all honesty, Karlin should have never been given this case in the first place – due to her lack of experience. Looking back, I also think Karlin is just another judge who viewed the death of a Black person as a nonentity. Once you review the video, it is absolutely incomprehensible how this judge can come to the conclusion that this crime was worth probation and a fine. Read more at For-the-Masses.com.

Latasha Harlins 
July 14, 1975 – March 16, 1991