Monday, 23 May 2016

Lesbian couple wins £55,000 lawsuit after being jailed for kissing in public

A lesbian couple in Honolulu have been granted the sum of £55,000 after they were jailed by a policeman who arrested them after seeing them kiss in a grocery store. In exchange for the funds, the pair, Courtney Wilson and Taylor Guerrero, have agreed to dismiss claims against the city and Officer Bobby Harrison.

"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.

The gay couple, Courtney Wilson and Taylor Guerrero were visiting Hawaii from Los Angeles last year when, according to the their lawsuit, they were harassed and arrested because the officer didn't like their public displays of affection in a Foodland store on Oahu's North Shore.

They were walking and 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, the women described last year. All three got into a scuffle and Harrison arrested them. They were charged with felony assault on an officer and spent three days in jail. Charges were eventually dismissed.

"The internal investigation was completed, and the allegations were not sustained," department spokeswoman Michelle Yu said in an email. Harrison retired at the end of last year, she said.

The settlement dismisses Harrison from the lawsuit and isn't an admission of any wrongdoing, Winter said.

"I'm glad it's over, but at the same time we wanted the officer to suffer some sort of repercussion," Wilson said.

I'm happy with it," Guerrero said of the settlement. "I'm just glad it's over with."

After paying their attorneys, Wilson and Guerrero plan to split what's left from the settlement amount.

Source: Telegraph UK

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