A GoFundMe campaign started by friends of LGBTQ event promoter Nik Dimopolous, a victim of the 2019 Victoria Police raid on queer bookshop Hares & Hyenas has raised over $4,600 in less than a day. The campaign was started by Dimopoulos’ friends Fionnbharr Pfeiffer and Keiran Smyth, hours after a report by the state anti-corruption watchdog IBAC that cleared the police and said that no “disproportionate force” was used in the raid. The report said that Dimopoulos’ human rights had been impacted in the police action.
“In support of Nik Dimopoulos, who was brutalised by Victorian Police specialised unit CIRT. For his legal fees towards accountability from Vic Police and towards attaining compensation, rehabilitation and justice,” said the campaign on crowdfunding platform GoFundMe and set a target of $6,000. Within 18 hours around 86 people had donated and raised over $4,600.
“I am bitterly disappointed and angry about these contradictory and unjust findings. I am at a loss as to how IBAC could come to these conclusions,” Dimopoulos said in a statement following the publication of the report.
Victorian police’s CIRT officers had raided the bookstore Hares and Hyenas in Fitzroy on May 11, 2019. Nik Dimopolous, who was sleeping in an apartment above the bookstore owned by his friends, woke up, and assuming it was a gay bashing or home invasion attempted to flee to the street. The police tackled Dimopoulos, took him to the street and handcuffed him. He sustained a serious injury to his right shoulder.
In a statement Anna Brown, CEO Equality Australia said that the injuries inflicted on Dimopoulos were appalling. “Everyone should feel safe in their community. When police enter a home and use force on an innocent person– the community expects them to be held to account where they have made a mistake. Our laws and system are fundamentally flawed if an innocent person can be dragged from their home and injured in this way without a proper avenue for redress or acknowledgement. This outcome does not at all meet community expectations. When police get it wrong, there needs to be a way to acknowledge and repair the harm caused by police violence to innocent civilians, to start to rebuild the trust and confidence of the community in police,” said Anna Brown.
You can support the GoFundMe campaign here.