A lesbian couple has been awarded $80,000 from the state of Hawaii after they were arrested for an incident that began with them kissing in a grocery store.
Taylor Guerrero and Courtney Wilson of Los Angeles were visiting the store on O’ahu in March 2015 when an off-duty police officer accosted the couple for kissing and showing affection toward each other.
"We were holding hands and I was kissing her cheek," Wilson told reporters at the time. "He was like, 'You girls, you girls can't do that in here.'”
A lesbian couple arrested by Hawaii cops after seeing them kiss have been awarded damages. https://t.co/C0grUfeKB6
— Eddie Du (@Edourdoo) May 21, 2016
At least one witness came forward to claim that the couple’s behavior was inappropriate.
“In my opinion it was lewd conduct in what they were doing. I wouldn't want my children to see that," an unidentified woman told Hawaii News Now.
The women continued to shop, and when the officer saw the couple kissing again a scuffle broke out. The officer was apparently put in a headlock by one of the women, and he allegedly punched WIlson in the face.
The women were eventually arrested and charged with assaulting a police officer, a felony. They spent three days in jail before their charges were dropped.
The couple filed a lawsuit against the state in October claiming that their constitutional rights were violated.
On Friday, the state announced it had agreed to an $80,000 settlement with the women, though the state did not admit to any wrongdoing.
"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," she said.
Officer Bobby Harrison, the off-duty cop involved in the incident, retired in January soon after Wilson and Guerrero filed their lawsuit.
Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.