Courtney Wilson and Taylor Guerrero (no relation to Danger Guerrero) were on the second day of their vacation to Hawaii last March, when they were arrested essentially for kissing and holding hands in a Honolulu grocery store. In a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday, the women — who were visiting from Los Angeles — claim that they were shopping in an Oahu Foodland store, when at one point they affectionately hugged and kissed each other. As couples do on vacation! Or anytime, really!
Unfortunately, the women were spotted by a uniformed officer, Bobby Harrison, who was also shopping at the time and loudly ordered the women to “take it somewhere else.” Used to the occasional rude or harassing remark (which in itself is depressing), Wilson and Guerrero continued shopping but when Harrison caught them being affectionate again, he threatened to have them thrown out of the store.
Shortly after they moved along to the check-out line, where they once again encountered Harrison and things quickly escalated from there.
While the women were in the check-out line, Harrison grabbed Wilson by the wrist, and she started to call 911, she said. “He was bumping his belly against Courtney,” Guerrero said. “He said, ‘you girls don’t know how to act. You don’t know the difference between a motel and a grocery store.’”
When Guerrero tried to get in between her girlfriend and the officer, he shoved her. She kicked him as she was falling, she said. “The whole situation got physical,” Wilson said. “I got punched in the face by him.”
Wilson and Guerrero were then arrested and slapped with a baloney charge of felony assault on an officer, since you can’t actually arrest someone for kissing in a grocery store. Although their charges were eventually dismissed, the two women spent three days in jail, and once they paid the $1,300 each of their $12,000 bail they were forced to remain in Honolulu as a condition of their release. This presented a whole other slew of headaches for the couple.
In the meantime, they had to stay with family friends or strangers they befriended. At one point thought they would have to go to a homeless shelter. They found jobs cleaning vacation rentals.
The Honolulu Police Department launched an internal investigation this week following the filing of the lawsuit, despite the fact that the incident happened in March, and Officer Harrison is still on full active duty. It’s hard to believe this kind of thing is still able to happen in America in 2015. Hopefully these women will receive just compensation for the humiliating and nightmarish ordeal that they were put through.