Latasha Harlins was a student at Westchester High School in Los Angeles. Her father, Sylvester, worked in a steel factory while her mother, Crystal, waitressed at a pub part-time while working towards obtaining her real estate license. While drunk and high, Sylvester would routinely beat Crystal in front of their three children. The couple fought incessantly over their financial troubles and in 1984, Crystal obtained a restraining order against her husband and filed for divorce.
The restraining order did little to keep Sylvester away. He continued to stalk, harass, and beat Crystal. Latasha often saw her mother with busted lips and black eyes. Sylvester was arrested for battery twice and Crystal told her family she feared he would one day kill her.
On November 27, 1985, 26-year-old Crystal went to B and B nightclub to celebrate her boss’s birthday. At 2 am, in walked a woman named Cora Mae Anderson, Sylvester’s new girlfriend. A few words quickly escalated into a full-blown screaming match. As the security guard tried to step in between the two women, Cora pulled out a gun and shot Crystal in the chest.