Last March, Courtney Wilson and her girlfriend Taylor Guerrero were vacationing in Hawaii when a run-in with police led to both women's arrest and, now, a federal lawsuit. All because they kissed in public.
In a federal lawsuit filed this week, the couple allege that during a stop at a Foodland grocery store in Pupukea, a small town on the north end of Oahu, an off-duty, in-uniform police officer named Bobby Harrison verbally accosted them when he saw the pair holding hands and kissing.
"He was like you girls, you girls can't do that in here," Guerrero said, according to the Associated Press.
The couple brushed it off, but were confronted by Harrison in the check-out line. According to the women, Harrison had grabbed a store employee to make a complaint and threatened to arrest the women with trespassing for their behavior.
”He said, 'you girls don’t know how to act. You don’t know the difference between a motel and a grocery store,’" Wilson told Yahoo.
Things turned physical when Harrison grabbed Wilson, who was calling the police on him, and shoved Guerrero, who tried to kick Harrison as she fell.
Other shoppers looked on in disbelief as Foodland staff restrained the two women while Harrison arrested them for assaulting an officer. Via Hawaii News Now:
"They took us down to the basement of Foodland where they continued to harass us about our conduct in the store, asking us if it was worth it, if we were happy where we are," Wilson said.
"We were just shocked that it all happened."
According to Hawaii News Now, Foodland's surveillance tapes, which would presumably show the confrontation, have disappeared.
The couple spent the next three days in jail until being released on bail, but a condition of their release was they could not leave the island, forcing them to sleep in a park at one point, before finding regular lodgings through family and friends. After five months, prosecutors dropped all charges against them.
Part of their lawsuit alleges that Wilson received multiple blows from Harrison but was denied treatment prior to her arrest and while in custody.
Honolulu PD has't announced the fate of Harrison, a 26-year veteran, though he remains on active duty, according to Yahoo. KHON2 says the department opened an internal investigation into his conduct and actions on Wednesday.
David Matthews operates the Wayback Machine on Fusion.net—hop on. Got a tip? Email him: firstname.lastname@example.org