Lesbian couple gets $80,000 settlement after arrest in Hawaii for kissing in public (and being attacked by a cop for doing it)…
Honolulu has agreed to pay $80,000 to settle a lawsuit from two gay women who allege a police officer wrongfully arrested them after seeing them kissing in a grocery store.
Details of the settlement were announced Friday in federal court in Honolulu. It is still subject to city council approval. The council is expected to consider the settlement at a 6 July meeting, said Nicolette Winter, a Honolulu deputy corporation counsel.
“The Department of the Corporation Counsel believes that the tentative settlement is in the best interests of the city,” the corporation counsel, Donna Leong, said in a statement.
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 checkout line, Harrison grabbed Wilson by the wrist, and she started to call 911, the women said 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.