I-Team: $1.2 million partial settlement reached in shooting death of 21-year-old

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CLEVELAND (WJW) – A family has reached a $1.2 million partial settlement in a civil lawsuit over the death of a 21-year-old man shot and killed by an off duty Cleveland Police officer working security at a bar. And the civil case is not over yet.

Documents were filed in Cuyahoga County Probate Court this week stating the family of Thomas Yatsko reached the settlement with some of the defendants named in the lawsuit.

Cleveland Sgt. Dean Grazioli shot and killed Yatsko after a confrontation as Grazioli was working at the Corner Alley in University Circle.

The settlement was reached in June with defendants, Corner Alley Uptown LLC, MRN Ltd, and 629 Euclid, LLC.

The federal lawsuit, however, has not been closed. Grazioli remains a defendant in the case.

“This partial settlement against the owners and operators of the Corner Alley is a step forward in the pursuit of justice,” said Atty. Nick DiCello, who represents the family. “We will continue pursuing claims against the Cleveland police officer who shot and killed Tommy.”

The shooting happened outside the Corner Alley in January, 2018. The I-Team obtained security video, police body camera video and witness statements through a public records request filed with the Franklin County Prosecutor’s Office last year.

Prosecutors in Franklin County served as special prosecutors on the case. The case was presented to a Cuyahoga County grand jury in June 2019. That grand jury chose not to indict the officer.

Graziolli explained to detectives investigating the shooting that Yatsko had been thrown out of the bar for fighting.

The officer said Yatsko turned aggressive, pushing and punching him and leaving his face bruised and bloodied. The video shows a little of the confrontation and you can see Graziolli pulled his gun. Then Yatsko appeared to take another step toward the officer throwing another punch. Graziolli then fired two shots.

Yatsko did not have a weapon. He died a short time after the shooting. Graziolli, who was working off-duty, said as soon as the shots were fired he shouted for someone to call 911.

Graziolli remains on restricted duty.

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