Reason Leader and Member for Northern Metropolitan, Fiona Patten, said a horrific incident in Fitzroy at the weekend was an example of policing gone wrong and must be independently investigated from Victoria Police.
This comes after an incident at about 2am on Saturday, where heavily armed police officers mistakenly stormed an apartment attached to gay community bookshop and cafe Hares & Hyenas on Johnston Street, Fitzroy.
According to witnesses, resident Nik Dimopoulos was terrified it was an anti-gay home invasion and so he rushed outside where he was then forcefully detained by police and seriously injured, leaving him with the likelihood of losing the use of his right arm which was broken in several places from the shoulder down.
Witnesses said police completely failed to identify themselves as ‘police’.
Earlier, Ms Patten said this was a fine example of why she had called on the Government in Parliament this month to implement recommendations from an inquiry by the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC) Committee last year, including one that determined serious police misconduct should not be left to the police to investigate.
“When the police are responsible for investigating themselves, people can’t be confident in the outcome,” Ms Patten said.
“Awful events like this must be investigated thoroughly, and my hope is, independently.
“This innocent man could be permanently disabled due to this error, and it can’t be ignored.
“And tragically, the poor victim thought this was ‘gay bashing’ and not an incorrect police raid.”
Ms Patten said she would be writing to Police Minister Lisa Neville and Premier Daniel Andrews about how this appalling mistake occurred.
She was also visiting Hares & Hyenas resident and victim, Mr Dimopoulos today in hospital.
A Victoria Police statement said the incident would be thoroughly investigated by the Professional Standards Command – which is a branch of Victoria Police.
Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner of the Northwest Metro Command, Luke Cornelius, offered an apology to Mr Dimopoulos on 3AW radio this morning.
But he said police had not directly spoken to Mr Dimopoulos.
“The IBAC Committee, after extensive inquiry, has made recommendations that should be immediately implemented,” Ms Patten said.
You can read IBAC’s report in full here.
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