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Thursday, June 6, 2019

No Indictment After Grand Jury Hears Evidence in Shooting Death of Thomas Yatsko by Off-Duty Cleveland Police Officer

Posted By on Thu, Jun 6, 2019 at 12:47 PM

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A Cuyahoga County grand jury has declined to indict Cleveland police Sergeant Dean Graziolli in the January 2018 shooting death of 21-year-old Thomas Yatsko outside of the Corner Alley in University Circle where Graziolli was working off-duty security.

In a statement, Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien, who served as special prosecutor in the case at the request of Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Mike O'Malley and who reviewed the investigation conducted by the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department, said:

"On January 13, 2018, Sergeant Graziolli was working at the Corner Alley in Cleveland, Ohio when he encountered Yatsko and another individual who were removed from the establishment for fighting. Yatsko returned to the patio of the Corner Alley later and a confrontation with Graziolli ensued. Yatsko punched Graziolli several times in the face according to witnesses. Graziolli pulled his firearm and warned Yatsko to stop but then fired twice as Yatsko moved toward him again. Yatsko was treated immediately at the scene and then transported to the hospital but he was pronounced deceased later that evening. Prosecutors requested that the relevant instructions on Use of Deadly force by police officers be given by a Judge of the court. All available evidence was considered, including eye witness testimony, video surveillance from the Corner Alley, and the officer's statement."



A wrongful death civil lawsuit filed by Yatsko's family in April 2018 remains pending. That suit alleged Graziolli used excessive force and failed to attend to Yatsko after the shooting.

Graziolli had been placed on light gym duty following the incident. 

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