• Tommy Lovett's mother Doreen and uncle Darren speak to the media on the steps of parliament in Melbourne. (AAP)Source: AAP
The innocent teenager was thrown into a fence and handcuffed in a violent case of of mistaken identity.
By
Madeline Hayman-Reber

Source:
NITV News
22 Jan 2019 - 4:55 PM  UPDATED 22 Jan 2019 - 4:55 PM

An Aboriginal teenager wrongfully arrested and assaulted by Victoria Police is too traumatised to leave the house, his family says.

Tommy Lovett, then 18, had to be hospitalised after he was arrested, beaten and capsicum sprayed by Darebin police looking for a man more than twice his age in April 2016.

According to his uncle, Mr Lovett is yet to recover from the incident, which has shattered his faith in law enforcement - although the force says the officers involved have no case to answer.

"It seems to me that Tommy has definitely been racially profiled there through all of this,” Darren Lovett told NITV.

“It just gives me no more faith on anything within the system. His human and civil rights have been violated.”

The family said that teenager was “totally overwhelmed and traumatised” by the situation and the way he was treated by police.

"He was a young kid on his way, trying to get on with his life and he is (now) unable to do that,” Mr Lovett said.

"He stays inside, he doesn't go out, he doesn't see his friends anymore."

The Lovett family is calling for the state government to change how police complaints are handled, as recommended by a parliamentary IBAC committee in 2018.

Lawyer Jeremy King, who is acting for Tommy Lovett, said the family had made a complaint following his arrest alleging excessive force but withdrew it after learning the person assigned to investigate was from the same station as those officers involved.

"It's not just about the inherent conflict Victoria Police have when investigating their own, but often it's a case where police from the very same station are investigating their colleagues," Mr King said.

"That is a huge conflict of interest and it absolutely erodes any trust or faith anyone in the community can have in the outcome of that investigation."

In a statement on Monday, Victoria Police said an independent manager continued with an internal investigation, which was " unable to determine if any criminal or disciplinary behaviour occurred".

"While Victoria Police acknowledges there is work to be done to existing practices, it holds a strong view that the existing oversight model is the most appropriate and effective. We cannot outsource our integrity."

With AAP