Honolulu settles with same-sex couple jailed after kissing for $80,000

File-This Oct. 28, 2015, file photo shows Courtney Wilson, left, and Taylor Guerrero posing for a photo in Honolulu. Honolulu will pay $80,000 to settle a lesbian couple's lawsuit alleging a city's police officer wrongfully arrested them after seeing them kissing in a grocery store while on vacation. The settlement was announced Friday, May 20, 2016, in federal court in Honolulu. It's still subject to City Council approval. Wilson and Guerrero were visiting Hawaii form Los Angeles last year when they say 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. (AP Photo/Jennifer Sinco Kelleher, File)

The City and County of Honolulu has agreed to pay a same-sex couple $80,000 to settle a discrimination lawsuit.

Courtney Wilson and Taylor Guerrero filed the lawsuit last year, accusing a Honolulu police officer of discrimination, assault and battery, and violation of their Fourth Amendment rights.

In March 2015, Wilson and Guerrero were vacationing on Oahu and held hands and kissed while shopping at a grocery store in Pupukea, the lawsuit said.

They claim Honolulu police officer Bobby Harrison, who was off-duty but in his uniform, told them to “take it somewhere else.”

They say he then threatened to have them thrown out of the store, and even encouraged the store manager to issue trespass warnings.

The lawsuit claims Harrison “forcefully seized” Wilson to prevent her from leaving the store as she called 911.

It claims Harrison also threw Guerrero to the ground, striking Wilson in the process, then placed both women in restraints.

The women were arrested and charged with assault against a law enforcement officer, though the charges were subsequently dismissed with prejudice.

Click here to read the original lawsuit in its entirety.

“We’re pleased with the outcome,” said attorney Della Au Belatti. “Our clients are very happy. They want to put this unfortunate incident behind them and they want to get on with their lives.

“I hope that we can, as our clients have done and as a community, we can learn from this and move forward, because I think Hawaii is a beautiful place to come visit, so we certainly want to welcome all visitors,” she added.

The settlement still needs to be approved by the Honolulu City Council.

As for Harrison, the Honolulu Police Department said he retired last year.

Photos: Courtney Wilson
Photos: Courtney Wilson

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