Honolulu, HI — The city of Honolulu has agreed to pay a lesbian couple the amount of $80,000 after a cop failed to control his intolerance and assaulted and arrested them for showing affection.
In exchange for the funds, the pair — Courtney Wilson and Taylor Guerrero — have agreed to dismiss claims against the city and Officer Bobby Harrison, according to the AP.
“The Department of the Corporation Counsel believes that the tentative settlement is in the best interests of the city,” Donna Leong, the city’s top attorney, said in a statement Friday.
Wilson and Guerrero were on their first vacation to Hawaii in March of 2015, when they crossed paths with Officer Harrison of the Honolulu Police Department.
Officer Harrison, being an authoritarian agent of the state, felt it necessary to assert his personal preference over Wilson and Guerrero once they showed each other affection.
According to the lawsuit filed last October, 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 couple immediately complied with the officer’s demands, despite them being unlawful. However, as they continued shopping they began showing their love to each other once more by holding hands in the isle. This was too much for the intolerant officer to handle and he decided to get physical.
During the initial assault by Harrison, Wilson was attempting to dial 9-1-1.
“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.'”
At this point, Harrison forced his way in between the two girls and shoved Wilson. In a desperate act of self-defense, Wilson kicked Harrison as she fell back.
“The whole situation got physical,” Wilson said. “I got punched in the face by him.”
Harrison then asked the store employees to help him arrest these two women whose only “crime” was expressing their consensual affection for each other in public – which is not illegal in any way shape or form.
However, since the officer decided to escalate to violence, the women were charged with felony assault on an officer. They spent three days in jail and each paid a bail bondsman $1,300 for bail that was set at $12,000 each, they said.
Wilson and Guerrero were then forced to stay in Honolulu as a condition of their bail and had to seek out jobs cleaning vacation rentals as not to be homeless.
Weeks later, the charges were finally dropped once the prosecution came to their senses.
Wilson told KHNL that they were not seeking money, however, they just want Harrison to “suffer some sort of repercussions for his actions.”
Unfortunately, that will not happen.
Initially, police told the Associated Press that they couldn’t comment on pending litigation, then later said they had opened the internal probe. However, the results of the probe landed no disciplinary action against Harrison.
Department spokeswoman Michelle Yu said, “the internal investigation was completed, and the allegations were not sustained.”
Wilson remains optimistic, however, telling KHNL that there can still be good that comes from the attention garnered by their story.
“For the publicity that it has gained, I hope that people saw it and it gives them inspiration to stand up for the civil rights that we have and to not tolerate bigotry behavior like that because it’s not acceptable,” she said.
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