14 May 2019

Victoria Police have apologised for accidentally brutalising a man who could draw public attention to his mistreatment. Nik Dimopoulos, a prominent member of Melbourne’s queer community, had his arm shattered by Critical Incident Response team — an injury described by a surgeon as “12 on a scale of 1 to 10”. The police have apologised, but only for bashing the wrong person; they emphasised they were looking for a “Lebanese” suspect. As Lauren Caulfield and Jess Ison point out: “This was not a ‘stuff up’, as claimed by Luke Cornelius, Assistant Commissioner of the Northwest Metro Command. Nik was detained outside of Hares & Hyenas because his appearance fit a racialised description. He was not the person police were hunting for, but this violence should not be tolerated against anyone. While the identity of the target person was mistaken, its execution is par for the course of a police institution that uses brutal force. … This is normal policing on display.” As if to prove the point, The Age today reports on another “mistaken identity” CIRT atrocity, in which an Indian man’s head was repeatedly bashed into the concrete footpath, breaking his jaw. Normal policing on display.