Hawaii settles lawsuit from lesbians jailed for kissing
Honolulu will pay $80,000 to the couple who say they were wrongfully arrested for kissing in a grocery store.
Courtney Wilson and Taylor Guerrero were visiting Hawaii from Los Angeles last year when, according to the their lawsuit, they were harassed and arrested because the officer didn’t like their public displays of affection in a Foodland store on Oahu’s North Shore.
They were walking through the aisles holding hands and at one point hugged and kissed, the lawsuit said. Officer Bobby Harrison, who was shopping in uniform, “observed their consensual romantic contact and, in a loud voice, ordered plaintiffs to stop and ‘take it somewhere else.'”
The women complied and continued shopping, the lawsuit said. When Harrison again saw them being affectionate with each other, he threatened to have them thrown out of the store.
While the women were in the check-out line, Harrison grabbed Wilson by the wrist, and she started to call 911, the women described last year. All three got into a scuffle and Harrison arrested them. They were charged with felony assault on an officer and spent three days in jail. Charges were eventually dismissed.
After the lawsuit was filed, the Honolulu Police Department opened an internal investigation. “The internal investigation was completed, and the allegations were not sustained,” department spokeswoman Michelle Yu said in an email. Harrison retired at the end of last year, she said.
The settlement dismisses Harrison from the lawsuit and isn’t an admission of any wrongdoing, Winter said.