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Lawsuit filed against police sergeant who shot, killed man at Corner Alley while off duty

Posted at 8:46 PM, Apr 10, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-10 20:46:06-04

A lawsuit has been filed against the police sergeant who shot and killed a 21-year-old man at Corner Alley at University Circle in January.

A fight between two young men at the bowling alley one Saturday night spilled outside, according to witnesses there that night. Sgt. Dean Graziolli, who was working off-duty at the time, escorted the men out as the fight escalated. One of the young men, Thomas Yatsko, got into a confrontation with Graziolli, leading to his death, according to witnesses.

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According to the lawsuit filed by Yatsko's mother and father, Melissa Yatsko and Darian Allen, Graziolli was unprovoked and approached Yatsko in an "aggressive and belligerent manner, swore at him and told him to leave the area." Yatsko reportedly replied that he was trying to find a ride home. At some point after that, Graziolli pulled out his weapon and a confrontation followed, according to the lawsuit. It also states that Yatsko did not have a weapon on him.

Graziolli was placed on paid administrative leave for three days following Yatsko's death.

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The lawsuit also includes claims against the city of Cleveland's chief of police for failing to train and/or supervise its law enforcement officers, including Graziollli, for promoting practices that resulted in Yatsko's death.

Corner Alley, where Graziolli was secondarily employed since March 2017, is also included in the lawsuit for negligent hiring and premises liability, among other things.

After the incident, News 5 obtained Graziolli's personnel files which show he was convicted a few years ago for falsifying timecards. Besides that, he received only a few reprimands over his 25-year career with Cleveland police. In fact, one of his performance reviews showed he was "known for deploying safe and effective tactics."