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Off-Duty Cleveland Officer Cleared In 2018 Fatal Shooting

A Cuyahoga County grand jury did not indict Cleveland Police Sgt. Dean Graziolli in the January 2018 off-duty shooting death of Thomas Yatsko, according to the Franklin County attorney who was brought in as a special prosecutor on the case.

The grand jury spent two days reviewing evidence from the evening of Jan. 13, 2018, outside the Corner Alley in University Circle that left 21-year-old Yatsko dead, said Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O'Brien in a Thursday statement. The grand jury concluded no crime had been committed.

Graziolli was "working secondary employment" at the Corner Alley as a security guard when Yatsko and another man were thrown out of the bowling alley-restaurant for fighting.

"Yatsko returned to the patio of the Corner Alley later and a confrontation with Graziolli ensued. Yatsko punched Graziolli several times according to witnesses. Graziolli pulled his firearm and warned Yatsko to stop but then fired twice as Yatsko moved toward him again," O'Brien's press release says.

Yatsko's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit in April 2018, alleging in the civil suit that Graziolli used excessive force. That case is still pending.

Graziolli was placed on administrative restricted duty immediately after the shooting and, according to a June 6 statement from Clevleand police, remains on administrative restricted duty as the police department conducts its own "internal administrative review of the incident."

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