A Melbourne man, Nik Dimopoulos is in hospital and may lose the use of his left arm, following a violent arrest that police have admitted was a case of mistaken identity.
The raid took place at 2am on Sunday 12th May 2019 in a residential apartment in the inner-city suburb of Fitzroy, which adjoins LGBT community bookshop and cafe Hares & Hyenas.
In a statement posted to Facebook, the owners of Hares & Hyenas said that police broke in via the garage, suspecting that an “armed member of a Lebanese gang” was inside the residence. They continued to say that “at no stage did they identity themselves as police. They just stormed into a dark room shining torches.”
Nik Dimopoulos, who was in the apartment at the time, thinking that it was an anti gay home invasion, rushed out of the apartment and onto the street where he was forcefully detained by the police.
“At no time did the police when they were chasing him say ‘stop, Police’ as you would expect. He had his hands tethered behind his back way beyond what can be endured, and then they had no implement to remove them even after an ambulance had been called. He could only see boots and rifles and was assuming he was going to be bashed or shot. He said he thought he was about to be killed,” the statement continued.
The owners of Hares & Hyenas called the police while this was going on, unaware that a police raid was occurring at their residence.
“Nik is now in hospital with the likelihood of losing the use of his left arm, which is broken in several places from the shoulder down. The surgeon described the injury as 12 on a scale of 1 to 10…Nik also has a huge contusion on his head from his head being thrown onto the pavement.”
Victoria Police issued a statement admitting that Nik Dimopoulos was mistakenly identified as the suspect in a home invasion and carjacking case, after they tracked a stolen car to the Fitzroy address.
“The male was arrested on a roadway after leaving through a front door. The male sustained serious injuries as a result of the arrest and was subsequently conveyed to hospital where he remains…The man police arrested was mistakenly identified as the suspect police were searching for that had fled the stolen vehicle nearby. Victoria Police acknowledge the distress this situation has caused the victim and the incident will be thoroughly investigated by Professional Standards Command,” the statement continued.