Account of post-G20 police action against wrong person

Chief Commissioner Christine Nixon confirmed that a man had been mistakenly arrested.

"We certainly had resources out there looking for particular individuals," she said.

"We have taken individuals into custody today and in one case the person was released because he wasn't the person we thought he was."

- The Age, 20 November 2006

Here is an account of what happened from the partner of the person who was not the person the cops thought he was... >>

Drasko Boljevic was abducted and terrorised on Sunday 16th Nov. 2006 by Eleonor Palacio Wednesday November 22, 2006 at 11:15 PM

In between 12 midday and 12.15pm, Sunday 16th November 2006, Drasko Boljevic, my partner, was paying for a drink at Foodworks minimart, 408
Swanston Street, in front of RMIT, whilst his friend Oakis was inside the store. Drasko was abducted by three bouncer-looking men dressed in casual clothes and violently taken into an unidentifiable white van, where another 5 of them help holding Drasko down and hand cuffed him with special plastic cuffs. Oakies heard some screams and went outside to see Drasko’s feet being carried into the unidentifiable van. He asked the abducters if they were policemen and they reply ‘get the fuck out of here, get the fuck out of this city’

The men did not identify themselves or informed Drasko why he was being abducted. He was told to ‘shut the fuck up’ and that he was a ‘fucking bastard’ and they will ‘bash him up and smash his face’, whilst violently holding his legs crossed at his back and pushing his head against the floor of the van and sitting on it. They drove around the city for about 10 minutes continuously terrorising him with this type of comments and physical force. They pulled his pants down, searched him and cut his backpack of his back. ‘I thought I was going to died, I could hardly breath and I didn’t know who these people were’, Drasko said later.

They stop at an ally way behind Flinders St Station and made him lie on the floor, with his pants still down, and look down, still shouting at him to ‘shut the fuck up’.

Some police detectives in casual clothes arrived and identified themselves. It was not until then, about 25 minutes after his abduction, that he was informed he was arrested, no reasons for the arrest were given. They took some photos of his face, front and profile with a mobile. Then, they took him into an unidentified car and he was taken to the 412 St Kilda Rd Police Station.

When at the Police Station, they asked him if he would behave violently or bite policemen or if he would cooperate, and took his handcuffs off. He started being interrogated and for the first time since the abduction he was told he was arrested for assaulting a policewoman at the G20 protest on Saturday.

Drasko was not in Melbourne on Saturday, he was on his way to Malmsbury, 1 hour away from Melbourne, were he played the part of an ‘Emu’ in a
cabaret show at the Town Hall. Police said later that he was arrested ‘on the basis of his physical similarity with a suspect’.

At this point, about 2.00 it was apparent that they got the wrong person, and the Constable interrogating him told him he was about to be released, and that ‘if this was Croatia he wouldn’t be so lucky’. He was finally released at 2.35 pm.

After getting home in a state of shock and fear, Drasko realised he had a bruising in the right eyebrow (which is likely to become a black eye) and discomfort of the neck as immediate physical consequences of the violent way he was dealt with in the van. Drasko contacted the Ethical performance and Standards Offfice, under the supervision of Senior Constable Neil Curtis (who dealt with the case in the last instance) to inform of his physical state. They told him that ‘he should understand that in these circumstances they (the abductors) can’t take any risks’ and that ‘they need to apply considerable force when dealing with violent suspects’.

Dear friends, state terrorism exist in Australia. We can say that this was a ‘bad mistake’ or that this ‘mistake’ can happen to any of us any day. This task force operation replicates torturing tactics used in the 70s in Argentina or in war time in Croatia, just to name a few.

What kind of liberties do we have as individuals? Is this a democracy gone with the wind? We should have the right to peacefully protest, if we believe it a way to demonstrate a view over the state of affairs. But above all, we shouldn’t be terrorised by a policy of ‘tough hunt’. Protesters or not, we are all people and I would like to believe that this country can still regain some dignity towards its citizens and residents.

With love, thank you for your support.

You can pass this e-mail on and let people know that this is a reality of Australia 2006.