Latasha Harlins

Abagond

Latasha Harlins (1975-1991) was an unarmed 15-year-old Black girl in South Los Angeles who was shot in the back of the head over a $1.79 bottle of orange juice. She was killed by Soon Ja Du, a Korean American shopkeeper. Du thought she was shoplifting. When police arrived they found Harlins dead – with $2.00 in her hand.

This is the “Latasha” and the “bottle of juice” in the songs of Tupac Shakur.

Empire Liquor, South Central Los Angeles, 1991. South Central was renamed South Los Angeles in 2003. Photo via scpr.org.

On Saturday March 16th 1991, less than two weeks after video came out of Los Angeles police beating up Rodney King, Harlins walked into Empire Liquor Market Deli to buy orange juice. She put the bottle in her backpack, placing it so that it was sticking out, and walked to the counter with two dollars in…

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