Lesbian couple says arrest for kissing in public ‘ripped them apart’
Two lesbians who alleged that they were arrested for kissing in a shop said the incident “ripped us apart”.
The two women were visiting Honolulu, Hawaii last year, and allege that the officer in question saw them kiss in public before arresting them.
According to reports, the settlement is still subject to approval from the Honolulu City Council, which will meet on 6 July.
Corporation Counsel Donna Leong said in a statement: “The Department of the Corporation Counsel believes that the tentative settlement is in the best interests of the city.”
The women, Courtney Wilson and Taylor Guerrero, were visiting the city from their home in Los Angeles in 2015.
They allege that the officer, Bobby Harrison, told them to “take it somewhere else” when he witnessed them holding hands, hugging and kissing in a shop.
When he later saw them kiss, the women, who were a couple but now are just friends, say Harrison told them he would have them removed from the premises.
Their lawsuit alleges that when trying to check out, the officer grabbed Wilson by the wrist.
They were eventually arrested and charged with felony assault. After spending three days in jail the charges were dropped.
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An investigation was launched by the Honolulu Police Department after the lawsuit was filed against the officer.
The plaintiffs have said they are happy with a $80,000 settlement offered by the City Council, but that they had hoped that Harrison would face more repercussions.
The couple have suggested that the incident may have contributed to their splitting up.
Speaking to the Guardian, Wilson said: “Everything that happened just kind of ripped us apart… I got crazy depressed and lost focus on what I wanted to do and what my plans were, and everything just spiralled downwards.
“Now I’m just trying to put my life back together.”
“It put a lot of strain on our relationship. This was supposed to be a romantic vacation in Hawaii before we moved in together in Los Angeles,” said Guerrero, “but instead it turned into this really horrible nightmare.”