July 31, 2013 |
Historian Brenda E. Stevenson (pictured in her UCLA office, with an African sculpture) mostly writes about the long-gone - 18th and 19th century African Americans, and the lives of enslaved women. Then came the case that made history while L.A. watched: Korean-born shopkeeper Soon Ja Du killed black teenager Latasha Harlins over a bottle of orange juice. A jury convicted Du of voluntary manslaughter, but she was sentenced only to probation and community service. Stevenson's new book, "The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins," analyzes the other "no justice, no peace" case that echoes through the 1992 riots and into the present day. Thirteen days after the Rodney King beating, Harlins was shot and killed.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 6, 1991
It is shameful the way the tragic death of Latasha Harlins is being used to further the political careers of Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner and certain community leaders. If Soon Ja Du was black instead of Korean, this case would not have been newsworthy. Reiner is using this case for his own personal ambition. His ruthless and irresponsible action would not only inflame racial tension and demagoguery but also destroy the career of Judge Karlin, make a mockery of our judicial system and install a kangaroo court to try and convict Soon Ja Du, not for manslaughter but for the crime of being Korean.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 27, 1992
I just completed reading Al Martinez's column, "A Ghost That Won't Go Away" (Jan. 16), pertaining to the killing of Latasha Harlins by Soon Ja Du last March. He is absolutely right; the ghost is not going away and neither am I. There are not enough words in the English language to properly relate my outrage over the sentencing of Soon Ja Du by Judge Karlin. A $500 fine, 400 hours of community service and probation for killing another human being is an affront not only to our judicial system, but also to Latasha Harlin's family.
March 8, 1992
Judge Karlin's sentence of probation for Soon Ja Du and the judge's reasons for the sentence are correct (Feb. 25). The opponents of Judge Karlin and Mrs. Du in South Los Angeles are racists. By appealing the sentence, Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner is playing to the mob for votes like the D.A. in Tom Wolfe's "The Bonfire of the Vanities." JAMES M. KALLIS, Los Angeles
October 2, 1994
Regarding "Crossing the Culture Line" (by Lydia Chavez, Aug. 28): Activists Karen Bass and Bong Hwan Kim are among the best and the brightest in a new alliance of community coalition builders. I am pleased that they are finally receiving the recognition they so richly deserve. Louis Caldera Assembly Member, 46th District Los Angeles It's very telling that when Chavez mentions four Korean-American merchants who were murdered in 1986, she doesn't mention their names.
June 14, 1992
The Times speculates with numerous reasons as to why Judge Joyce Karlin won reelection to the Superior Court ("Judge Karlin's Win Baffles Black Leaders," June 4), but failed to give the one reason why so many of us did vote for her: Latasha Harlins beat Soon Ja Du in the face viciously until Mrs. Du fell to the floor. Upon pulling herself up to the counter and picking up the gun, the gun discharged. (Mrs. Du was unaware of the hair trigger.) I believe Judge Karlin made a wise decision on the sentencing, and that is the reason many of us voted for her. ROXANNA H. FRANCESCONI Los Angeles