Two lesbians who were arrested by a Honolulu police officer after he saw them hugging and kissing in a North Shore grocery store were recently awarded $80,000 to resolve a lawsuit they filed last October.
According to the Associated Press, the legal settlement was announced in U.S. District Court on Friday, although it still must be approved by the Honolulu City Council, which is expected to take up the matter July 6.
Honolulu is set to pay $80,000 to two women who say they were harassed and arrested by an officer who didn’t agree with their sexual orientation.
Cory Lum/Civil Beat
Here are the facts of the case as laid out by the AP:
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.
Reuters is reporting that Wilson and Guerrero were also paid $10,000 by Foodland, which has issued a trespassing warning against the couple.
The Honolulu Police Department launched an internal investigation into Harrison after news of the lawsuit was reported in the media. An HPD spokeswoman said Friday that the allegations were not sustained and that Harrison retired at the end of 2015. He had 27 years of service.
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