Nik Dimopoulos, the Victorian man wrongly arrested and seriously injured in a bungled police raid at queer bookstore Hares and Hyenas, has sued for compensation.
Last May, the events promoter was asleep in an apartment at the bookstore in Fitzroy when he heard intruders’ voices.
Unknown to Dimopoulos, the intruders were Victoria Police’s Critical Incident Response Team. The officers stormed the wrong home while searching for an armed offender.
Fearing a home invasion or homophobic attack, Dimopoulos tried to escape to the street outside. But during the violent struggle, his shoulder was pulled from his socket and several arm bones shattered.
Now Dimopoulos is suing the state government seeking damages for assault, battery and false imprisonment.
In the civil suit, the man also claims Victoria Police “failed to reasonably consider” his safety or properly train or supervise the officers.
In April, the Independent Broad-Based Anti-Corruption Commission (IBAC) ruled police had not used excessive force while arresting Dimopoulos.
However, IBAC did find that Mr Dimopoulos’s human rights were impacted.
“The officers involved in the incident did not, as the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities obliges them, advise him of the reason for his arrest, make him aware of his rights, or officially release him from custody,” the ruling stated.
Nik Dimopoulos ‘feared he would die’ during incident
At the time, Nik Dimopoulos claimed he fled because police never identified themselves, and he feared he would die.
“I didn’t identify any faces. My thoughts went from a break-in to a group of people intentionally here to come in and possibly kill us,” he said last year.
As a result of the injury, Dimopoulos has had several surgeries to restore movement in his arm and still needs daily physiotherapy. Victoria Police has helped pay for his medical expenses.
Victoria Police haven’t commented on the case because the matter is before the courts.
After the incident, Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius apologised on behalf of the police force.
“Police stuffed this one up, our attendance at the property was a mistake,” he said.
“It’s very clear to us that [Dimopoulos’ injuries] are very serious. Those injuries demand explanation.”
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