A lesbian couple have been awarded a settlement of $80,000 to settle a lawsuit after they were wrongfully arrested by a police officer who was opposed to them kissing in public.
Courtney Wilson and Taylor Guerrero were holidaying in Honolulu, Hawaii last year when police officer Bobby Harrison arrested them for showing affection towards each other whilst out shopping. Whilst shopping at Foodland the officer saw the two of them holding hands and kissing, an act of consensual contact, and loudly told the two of them to 'take it somewhere else'.
Later officer Harrison witnessed the two of them kissing and threatened to throw the two of them out of the store.
'We were holding hands and I was kissing her cheek. He was like 'you girls, you girls can't do that in here'.' Guerrero said when talking about the incident. The two of them then attempted to pay for their shopping before leaving the store, but were approached by Harrison yet again.
According to the lawsuit filed by the couple Harrison grabbed hold of Wilson's wrist whilst they were attempting to make their purchase. Wilson took out her mobile phone and attempted to call emergency services, which led to the three of them getting into a physical altercation.
Harrison charged them both with felony assault on an officer and arrested both of them, despite the fact that they were trying to defend themselves against him. The two of them were jailed for three days, but the charges were later dropped.
An investigation against officer Harrison was launched after the couple filed their lawsuit, but he was not charged with any wrongdoing. Police spokesperson Michelle Yu issued a statement on the matter, saying 'The internal investigation was completed, and the allegations were not substantiated.'
Wilson and Guerrero, whose relationship has ended since the incident, have said that they plan to use the settlement to pay for their legal fees before splitting the remainder between the two of them.