Nik Dimopoulos was arrested outside the gay community bookshop Hares & Hyenas in Fitzroy in the early hours of Saturday morning after a stolen car was tracked there.
But police failed to identify themselves while tethering Mr Dimopoulos’ hands behind his back “way beyond what can be endured”, according to a Facebook post by the shop’s co-owner who was also caught up in the raid.
“At no stage did they (the officers) identify themselves as police,” Crusader Hillis wrote on Facebook after the raid through the store’s garage.
“They just stormed into a dark room shining torches and it was impossible to identify them as police.”
Residents of Johnstone St had been told police were searching for an “armed member of a Lebanese gang”.
Mr Hillis said Mr Dimopoulos thought “it was an anti-gay home invasion (and) rushed out the door”.
But the officers, including police from the heavily-armed critical incident response team, chased Mr Dimopoulos and arrested him in the gutter.
“At no time did the police when they were chasing him say ‘stop, police’ as you would expect,” Mr Hillis wrote.
“He could only see boots and rifles and was assuming he was going to be bashed or shot. He said he thought he was about to be killed.”
Mr Dimopoulos is now in hospital, “with the likelihood of losing the use of his left arm, which is broken in several places from the shoulder down,” Mr Hillis added.
“The surgeon described the injury as 12 on a scale of 1 to 10.”
Surgeons were forced to insert pins into Mr Dimopoulos’ shattered arm and take bone grafts to try and repair it.
Jeremy King, from Robinson Gill Lawyers, confirmed to The Age Mr Dimopoulos was “considering legal options”.
In a statement, Victoria Police confirmed the Professional Standards Command was investigating.
“Police were tracking a stolen vehicle travelling at a fast rate of speed on EastLink in the early hours. The vehicle was identified as allegedly being involved in a home invasion and carjacking on 5 May. Police attempted to intercept the vehicle without success and it was tracked to Fitzroy,” police said.
Police allege they were given a description of a man similar to Mr Dimopoulos before arresting him.
“The male sustained serious injuries as a result of the arrest and was subsequently conveyed to hospital where he remains. The man police arrested was mistakenly identified as the suspect police were searching for that had fled the stolen vehicle nearby. Victoria Police acknowledge the distress this situation has caused the victim, and the incident will be thoroughly investigated.”
Premier Daniel Andrews said yesterday the Government was offering Mr Dimopoulos and his family support.
“It would have been terrifying, he’s obviously got serious injuries, and I want to assure every Victorian he’s getting the very best of care,” he said.
“We will look very closely at what has happened.”