South LA Playground Renamed For Latasha Harlins, Teen Shot To Death Weeks After Rodney King Beating:
Latasha Harlins Playground-
A South Los Angeles playground was officially renamed in honor of a 15-year-old girl who was killed over 30 years ago, an event which served as a precursor to the L.A. Riots.
Latasha Harlins (January 1, 1976 – March 16, 1991) was a 15-year-old African-American girl who was murdered by Soon Ja Du (Hangul:두순자), a 51-year-old Korean American convenience store-owner. Du was tried and convicted of voluntary manslaughter in Harlins’ death.
The judge sentenced Du to 10 years in state prison but the sentence was suspended and the defendant was instead placed on five years probation with 400 hours of community service, a $500 restitution, and funeral expenses. The killing of Latasha Harlins, recorded on security footage, and the sentencing and failed appeal of what was widely regarded as a light sentence, are considered to have contributed to the 1992 Los Angeles riots, especially the targeting of Koreatown, Los Angeles. Harlins’ death came 13 days after the videotaped beating of Rodney King.
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