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Bobby Harrison, a Honolulu police officer, is accused in a federal lawsuit of violating the Constitutional rights of Courtney Wilson and Taylor Guerrero, a lesbian couple who were vacationing there. The suit alleges that Harrison, while acting in his capacity as a police officer and as an individual, discriminated against the two because of their sexual orientation when he detained and assaulted them. Wilson and Guerrero were shopping at a grocery store (Foodland) where Harrison was also present. When the two walked through the aisles of the store, they engaged in hand holding and lightly kissed a couple of times. Harrison told them to stop and “take it somewhere else”. When the couple complied and moved on to a different aisle, out of the view of the officer, they resumed their mild expressions of mutual fondness. Harrison spotted them and ordered them to stop their behavior, or he would throw them out of the store. As the two entered the cashier line, preparing to pay and leave the store, Harrison approached and said they were being trespassed from the store and ordered them to step out of the line. At this point, Wilson attempted to call 911 to report Harrison’s conduct, however, he then forcefully seized her. At this point, Guerrero attempted to “move herself between” the two and was violently thrown to the ground. The two were then placed in restraints, taken to the basement of the store and questioned, and eventually charged with felony assault on an officer. The charges have since been dismissed.

Wilson (25) and Guerrero (22) had only been on vacation in Oahu for two days before the attack. Upon their release from jail, after posting a bond—the equivalent of their vacation budget, they were required to remain on the island until their case was finished. They had no money, no place to go, and ended up sleeping outside and depending upon the charity of strangers.

UPDATE: May 21, 2016

Honolulu has agreed to pay $80,000 to settle a lawsuit broght by this couple. The agreement is subject to city council approval. Wilson said she and Guerrero were no longer a couple but remain friends.

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