Victoria Police’s Chief Commissioner has spoken out about the mistaken raid at Hares & Hyenas, calling the incident “very regrettable” but saying that the police were “doing their job”.
In a radio interview with 3AW, Chief Commissioner Graham Ashton defended the officers who broke Nik Dimopoulos’ arm during the botched raid.
“They came across these premises and were of the belief the offender was in the premises and they’ve gone in on that basis,” he told 3AW.
“That’s them doing their job, and it’s very regrettable its been the home of this chap, and it’s very regrettable that he’s injured.”
Earlier this month, police mistakenly raided the apartment attached to popular Fitzroy LGBTI bookstore and performance space Hares & Hyenas in the early hours of Saturday morning, hospitalising Dimopoulos.
The raid occurred around 2am, with armed officers allegedly failing to identify themselves as they looked for a suspected carjacker.
“They just stormed into a dark room shining torches and it was impossible to identify them as police,” said bookstore staff member Crusader Hillis in a Facebook post.
“Nik Dimopoulos, thinking that it was an anti-gay home invasion, rushed out the door, downstairs and onto the street where he was forcefully detained.
“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 Independent broad-based anti-corruption commission will investigate the raid.