WINDSOR HILLS (CBSLA.com) — Customers and civil rights leaders called for a ‘buy-in’ Monday night at a local market at the center of a rumor campaign that misrepresents the owner of the store as a woman charged with killing a teen more than two decades ago.
In what some worry could be a case of malicious mistaken identity, the flyer calls for a boycott of Buddha Liquor Market, claiming it is owned by Soon Ja Du, not Annie Shin, it’s actual owner.
“Once rumors get started, they have a life of their own,” said Earl Ofari Hutchinson of the Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable.
Du was a Korean merchant who shot and killed 15-year-old Lathasha Harlins in 1991. She was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, but the judge reduced her sentence and she served no jail time, inflaming racial tensions in the community.
“You have a generation that wasn’t even born then, you have many people 17, 18, 19, 20 that might see a flyer like this, that have no knowledge of what actually went on then, they may see something like that and may actually believe it,” said Hutchinson. “Worse than that, they could act upon it.”
Shin was not at the store Monday night, but she reportedly offers proof of her identity whenever someone comes to the store asking about the flyer. At the market, local residents said no one knows who is behind the flyers, or why.
“They have done nothing but support this community,” said customer Marshall May. “For somebody to pass a flyer around like that to try to destroy this, what we have here in the community, is horrible.”