A lesbian couple has filed a lawsuit against a Hawaii police officer who they say harassed them for being affectionate while on vacation and then wrongfully arrested them.
The Los Angeles couple, Courtney Wilson and Taylor Guerrero, claim in their lawsuit that they suffered physical injuries and "great humiliation, embarrassment and emotional distress" due to the incident.
Wilson and Guerrero were at a Foodland grocery store in Honolulu, shopping and holding hands, periodically kissing, when the situation unfolded.
According to the lawsuit, Honolulu Police Officer Bobby Harrison started harassing them over their public displays of affection.
Guerrero explained at a press conference Wednesday, "We were holding hands and I was kissing her cheek.” Harrison’s initial response was apparently, "Hey, you girls can't do that in here."
Following the officer’s request, the couple stopped being affectionate and kept shopping, the lawsuit states. But after some time, Harrison – who was in uniform but off-duty -- threatened to throw them out when the behavior continued.
Harrison then allegedly followed Wilson and Guerrero to the cashier line and said the store was going to issue them a written trespass notice, according to the suit.
Taken aback, Wilson then called the police, prompting Harrison to grab her arm, she said. Guerrero stepped in to move between her girlfriend and the officer.
That's when the officer, a 26-year veteran of the force, allegedly struck Wilson and threw Guerrero to the ground.
“Wilson and Guerrero were arrested and charged with assault on a law enforcement officer. They remained in jail for two days before posting bail and paying $1,300 each, Wilson said,” according to NBC News. “Honolulu Police Department Spokeswoman Michelle Yu told NBC News the department opened an internal investigation into the incident on Wednesday, a day after the women filed suit against Harrison and the city.”
The charges against the couple were ultimately withdrawn and dismissed. Their lawsuit is seeking unspecified damages.