Gay couple arrested after kissing in grocery store gets $80K settlement

Gay couple arrested after kissing in grocery store gets $80K settlement
Published: May. 20, 2016 at 2:49 PM HST|Updated: May. 20, 2016 at 8:48 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The lesbian couple who sued after alleging they were arrested in a North Shore grocery store for kissing has reached an $80,000 settlement with the city.

Los Angeles residents Courtney Wilson and Taylor Guerrero said a Honolulu police officer beat them up and arrested them last spring for a public display of affection in the Pupukea Foodland. The women were charged with felony assault on an officer, but the case was eventually dropped by prosecutors after grocery store surveillance videos disappeared.

The settlement, announced Friday, comes just seven months after the couple filed suit against the Honolulu Police Department.

In exchange for the funds, all claims against the city and officer Bobby Harrison were dismissed.

In court Friday, Wilson agreed to the terms by phone from California.

After the hearing, she told Hawaii News Now that the episode has left her exhausted.

"I don't really know what either of us were looking to get honestly," she said, by phone. "It wasn't money or anything. We wanted to be compensated, but I think more or less we wanted Officer Harrison to suffer some sort of repercussions for his actions."

HPD opened an internal investigation based on the allegations, but never said whether Harrison was placed on leave. The 26-year veteran retired two months after the lawsuit was filed.

Meantime, Wilson says she and Guerrero have parted ways. But both women hope their story can be a lesson for others.

"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.

Attorneys for city declined to comment about the case, but sent a statement that said the settlement is in the "best interests of the city."

The settlement still needs to be approved by City Council. That could happen as early as July.

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