It was May last year when Victoria police mistakenly raided gay community book shop Hares & Hyenas in Fitzroy, injuring Nik Dimopoulos who was thought to be an offender.
Police had stormed his apartment at 2am, while he was asleep without identifying themselves. The victim thinking he his home was being invaded or that it was a gay bashing, tried to defend himself.
Mr Dimopoulos who received multiple fractures to his arm when it was pulled from his shoulder socket during the arrest is now suing the state government for compensation for his physical and mental injuries.
The surgeon who operated on Mr Dimopoulos has described it as one of the worst shoulder fractures he had ever seen, The Age reports.
The claim filed in the Supreme Court of Victoria is seeking compensation for injuries Mr Dimopoulos sustained because Victoria Police “did assault, batter and falsely imprison [him]” and failed to “exercise reasonable care” for his safety.
The lawsuit follows an Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission report in April that cleared Victoria Police of any wrongdoing despite the botched raid and injuries caused to Mr Dimopoulos.
IBAC commissioner Robert Redlich found that officers of the elite Critical Incident Response Team had “reasonable grounds”.
“The police involved reasonably believed such force was necessary to arrest a person who was struggling with police… the force used by police in restraining Mr Dimopoulos was not disproportionate to the officers’ objective of arresting Mr Dimopoulos,” the statement said in spite of the apartment being the wrong location.
This response infuriated not only the local community but people of colour and the LGBTQIA+ community nationwide.
Assistant Commissioner Luke Cornelius had issued a public apology on behalf of the force almost immediately, saying “It’s very clear to us that police stuffed this one up”.
The amount of damages being sought is not specified even though Vic Police is paying for Mr Dimopoulos’ medical expenses.
The victim’s solicitor, Jeremy King as well as Vic Police declined to comment because the matter is before the courts.
A GoFundMe campaign to help Dimopoulos with legal expenses, set up in April 2020, has raised over $10,000.