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Federal court okays civil trial against Cleveland, CPD officers involved in Parma man's death

Posted at 12:06 PM, Jul 26, 2016

A federal appeals court ruled has against the City of Cleveland, clearing the way for a civil trial in the lawsuit filed by the family of a Parma man shot and killed by a former Cleveland police officer.

The panel of judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit filed the ruling Monday.

"Finally after five years we get to move forward," said Bernadette Rolen, the victim's mother.

On July 4, 2011, her son, Daniel Ficker, was shot and killed outside his home on Wareham Driver by former Cleveland police officer Matthew Craska.

Internal affairs investigators found Craska and another officer at the scene, David Mindek, should be terminated for violating numerous department policies.

The officer both resigned before they could be fired.

The incident started when Craska left his patrol area on the busy holiday to pick up Mindek, who was off duty, in his patrol car.

The pair headed to Parma to question Ficker about jewelry that went missing during a party at Mindek's home.

Ficker had attended the party with his fiance, a relative of Mindek's wife.

Craska and Ficker got into a physical altercation. It ended with Craska fired a fatal shot into Ficker's chest.

Rolen and Ficker's father, Dennis, filed a federal lawsuit in 2012 after Cuyahoga prosecutors failed to indict the officers on murder charges.

Rolen said it has been difficult to be patient as she has waited for the slow wheels of justice to turn, but in spite of the long delays, she still wants the case to go to trial.

"I just want everyone to see the things they did wrong and that they weren't as innocent as they claimed to be," said Rolen about the officers.

5 On Your Side Investigators reached out to the City of Cleveland for a response to the lawsuit.

The "city is evaluating options and the ruling to determine next steps," according to Daniel Ball, the Assistant Director of Media Relations.