Family of Man Allegedly Killed by Officers File Lawsuit

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CLEVELAND -- A civil lawsuit has been filed against the city of Cleveland and two of its officers in connection with the shooting of a Parma man at his Wareham Road home on July 3, 2011.

According to attorney Terry Gilbert, who is representing the family of Dan Ficker, the Department of Justice is also looking into the shooting, although an official investigation has not been confirmed.

"It's been a year now and we haven't even received the investigative documents," said Gilbert, who insists the family is entitled to know why the officers weren’t held criminally liable for their actions. 

"I just can't wait until we get all the facts so we can pick it all apart and show how ridiculous all this was and did not need to happen,” said Dennis Ficker, the dead man’s father.

Gilbert said there has been no explanation as to why Cleveland Officers Matthew Craska, who was on duty, and David Mindek who wasn't, weren’t charged in relation to Ficker’s death. Craska was cleared of any wrongdoing but a grand jury charged Mindek with dereliction of duty for not getting involved when the encounter turned violent. 

The two officers drove to Parma which was outside of their jurisdiction and accused Ficker of taking jewelry from Mindek's home where Ficker was an invited guest earlier in the day. The suit alleges Ficker sustained “approximately 30 separate wounds, including multiple contusions from blunt force hits on his body.” It is also alleged that Ficker “put his hands in the air to show he was unarmed, and attempted to get in the side door of his house, yet Craska fired a shot  from his handgun striking Daniel Ficker in the side of his chest, under his armpit, a shot which traversed through his chest, severed his spinal cord, and caused him to drop in his tracks.”

“Mindek fled from the scene, like he didn't even want anything to do with it,” said Gilbert, “He was nowhere to be found when Parma police showed up and here's his friend, Matthew Craska, with a smoking gun in his hand.”

Details the family is seeking could be made public on July 16th when Mindek is scheduled to go to trial. He is pleading not guilty to the charge.  Meanwhile, Ficker’s family is trying to help his two young children, ages 6 and 9, understand what happened using what little information they have.

"We made sure we told them he did nothing wrong, he did nothing wrong,” said the children’s mother, Tiffany Urbach, “They cried."