Nik Dimopoulos, the innocent LGBTQI event promoter, who had his shoulder ripped from its socket during the 2019 botched raid at Melbourne’s gay book store Hares and Hyenas is suing the Victoria Police seeking damages for “assault, battery and false imprisonment.”
Dimopoulos lodged the petition on June 5 in the Supreme Court of Victoria through his lawyer Jeremy King of Robinson Gill Lawyers. The petition was filed approximately six weeks after the state-anti corruption watchdog cleared the Victoria Police over its role in the incident.
“Bitterly disappointed and angry,” is what Dimopoulos had said when the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) came out with its report in April rejecting allegations that the police had used “disproportionate force” against him.
The IBAC investigation, however, did conclude that Dimopoulos’ human rights had been “impacted” as the police officers did not “advise him of the reason for his arrest, make him aware of his rights, or officially release him from custody.”
The claim document filed in the Supreme Court says that Dimopulos “suffered injury, loss and damage” as a result of the conduct of Victoria Police officers, who “breached the duty of care owed to him by failing to exercise reasonable care for his safety.” The petition said that the State of Victoria was liable for the conduct of the police who failed to “properly supervise, control or train its employees” and breached Dimopoulos’ rights under the Charter Human Rights and Responsibilities Act.
Dimopoulos has said that the following rights that he was entitled to under the Act had been violated:
- Section 10 – right to protection from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment.
- Section 12 – right to freedom of movement.
- Section 21 – right to liberty and security of person.
- Section 22 – right to humane treatment when detained.
For the assault, battery and false imprisonment, Dimopoulos has claimed damages, interest and legal costs.
On May 11, 2019, the Critical Incident Response Team officers had raided Hares and Hyenas book store in Fitzroy, while reportedly chasing a car jacking suspect. Dimopoulos was sleeping on a couch in an apartment above the bookstore owned by his friends Rowland Thomson and Crusader Hillis.
Dimopoulos woke up to noises and assuming it was a home invasion or a gay bashing attack attemped to flee to the street. The officers tackled Dimopoulos, dragged him to the street and handcuffed him. Dimopoulos has insisted that at no point did the officers identify themselves as police.
IBAC Commissioner, Robert Redlich said that the report held “that the officers had reasonable grounds to enter and search the premises in Fitzroy given the nature of the offenses suspected to have been committed and the information available to the officers at the time… the force used by police in restraining Mr. Dimopoulos was not disproportionate to the officers’ objective of arresting Mr. Dimopoulos, as the police involved reasonably believed such force was necessary to arrest a person who was struggling with the police.”
IBAC further said that the officer’s decision to enter the premises or the action against Dimopoulos was not linked to “race or sexuality.”
A GoFundMe campaign to help Dimopoulos with legal expenses, set up in April 2020, has raised over $10,0000.