Victoria’s top police union official has unilaterally backed in the officers involved in a bungled raid on an inner-Melbourne LGBTQI bookshop that left a prominent member of the queer community with a horrifically shattered arm.

Police Association secretary Wayne Gatt appeared on 3AW this morning and said he was “proud” of how officers handled the raid, despite the fact that they detained innocent man Nik Dimopoulos and injured his arm so badly that a surgeon reportedly rated a “12 on a scale of 1 to 10.”

Gatt asserted that claims police did not properly identify themselves when they forced entry to an apartment attached to queer bookshop Hares & Hyenas in the early hours of Saturday morning were false, and that he was “not appalled” by how police conducted themselves. He also took a swipe at Victoria Police – who issued a hasty, rare apology to Dimopoulos – for not unwaveringly backing in the officers involved in the botched arrest.

I’m not appalled by what our members did. I’m proud of what our members did. Our members went out and did their job and made an arrest as the community would expect them to do.

They took every attempt to engage with people in the building. They can’t be responsible for people running.

What I’m going to say on behalf of our members here is that we won’t back away from doing our jobs and we don’t think Victoria Police should back away from supporting us doing our jobs either.

The bungled raid has sparked widespread outrage and condemnation of police actions, and has prompted Victoria Police officials to launch an immediate internal investigation into the events leading up to, and including, the violent, botched raid. No officers involved in the raid have been suspended or faced disciplinary action at this time.

Dimopoulos, a pioneering figure in Melbourne’s gay dance party scene, has undergone surgery in an attempt to repair his shattered arm. Surgeons were forced to utilise bone grafts and metal pins during the procedure. It’s feared he may still not regain full use of his arm. Legal representatives have confirmed civil action against Victoria Police is being explored.

Source: The Age
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