Thursday, October 29, 2015

Lesbian Couple Files Federal Lawsuit After Cop Arrested Them for Kissing in Grocery Store // Incident Made Couple Homeless in Hawaii for Five Months Before Charges Were Dropped

A lesbian couple named Courtney Wilson and Taylor Guerrero were visiting Hawaii from Los Angeles this past March. One the second day of their vacation, they ended up getting arrested while shopping at a Foodland grocery store after an off-duty police officer objected to them kissing each other. Things escalated from there:
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, she said. "He was bumping his belly against Courtney," Guerrero said. "He said, 'you girls don't know how to act. You don't know the difference between a motel and a grocery store.'" When Guerrero tried to get in between her girlfriend and the officer, he shoved her. She kicked him as she was falling, she said. "The whole situation got physical," Wilson said. "I got punched in the face by him."  

Because Harrison didn't have any handcuffs on him, store employees helped restrain the women, as customers watched. "You can't really blame them for not getting involved," Wilson said of the bystanders.
Another reported shared that the women were taken down into the Foodland basement where they were asked "if it was worth it, if we were happy where we are."

The women were both arrested and charged with felony assault on an officer. They were both in jail for three days until they were able to pay bail. They were required to remain in Honolulu as a condition of their release from jail. They spent the next five months couch-surfing with friends and family members. They even spent some time living in a homeless shelter and had to take temporary jobs cleaning vacation rentals while they were stuck in Hawaii.

The charges were eventually dismissed against the couple. It seems that video footage of this police interaction has gone missing.

Needless to say, the couple has filed a federal lawsuit against Officer Bobby Harrison and the city of Honolulu. The Honolulu Police Department has initiated an internal investigation into this incident. Officer Harrison remains on full active duty.

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