Lesbian couple allege they were arrested for kissing in grocery shop
A same-sex couple have alleged they were harassed and arrested by police for kissing in a grocery shop while on holidays in Hawaii.
Courtney Wilson (25) and Taylor Guerrero (21) from Los Angeles have filed a lawsuit in a U.S. federal court stating that police officer Bobby Harrison arrested them for public displays of affection on March 3rd 2015 in a Foodland shop in Oahu, Hawaii.
The court documents reveal that Harrison was in uniform as he shopped at the mini-market.
He observed the couple walking through the aisles holding hands, hugging, and kissing.
The women claim that Harrison ordered them to "take it somewhere else" in a loud voice.
However, they remained in the shop and moments later began holding hands again
Court documents show that Harrison then threatened to have them thrown out of the mini-market.
As the women were queuing up to pay, Harrison approached them a third time.
The couple's lawyer told the Associated Press that when one of the women tried to phone 911 Harrison grabbed her arm.
The lawsuit alleges that he then threw both women onto the ground.
“I got punched in the face by him. I split my nose open. We were on the ground,” Wilson told Hawaii News Now.
“She then kicked the police officer, which apparently enraged him even more,” their lawyer said.
After Harrison was hit by Wilson, he punched her.
Foodland employees were told to hold the women down while Harrison bound their wrists with zip ties, the lawsuit alleges.
The couple were arrested and charged with felony assault of a police officer, but the charges were dismissed five months later.
The lawsuit claims Harrison acted with hostility because of his hate towards the LGBT community.
The amount of monetary damages sought are not specified in the court documents.
A Honolulu Police Department spokesperson told the AP that Harrison has 26 years service as a police officer.
He remains on active duty in Oahu.
The couple's lawyer said that Foodland apologised to the couple for the incident.