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$4.5 million settlement reached in shooting death of Matthew Graves

EAGLE POINT, Ore. – The City of Eagle Point and the family of a man shot and killed by a police officer have reached a multi-million dollar settlement.

The shooting happened on September 19, 2018, at a Carl’s Junior restaurant in Eagle Point.

Prosecutors said Matthew Graves was confronted by Officer Daniel Cardenas after he was seen jaywalking. Cardenas followed graves into the Carl’s Junior restroom, where the two were joined by a second officer. Graves was shot twice in the back by Officer Cardenas while the three were struggling. Graves died from his injuries.

Officer Cardenas was subsequently cleared of any criminal wrongdoing in the case by a grand jury. However, a civil suit was filed by Graves’ parents.

Attorneys acting on behalf of Graves said his civil rights were violated and the shooting was unjust. They argued Graves was “doggedly pursued” by Officer Cardenas after he was seen jaywalking—something that’s a violation, not a case for arrest. When Cardenas drew his gun on Graves and “trapped” him in the Carl’s Junior restroom because he suspected he might be guilty of something, attorneys say it was the equivalent of an arrest.

According to attorneys Kelly L. Anderson and David Linthorst, the “arrest” of Graves on mere suspicion alone is not grounds to detain him. “After making an unlawful arrest,” attorneys said, “Cardenas compounded the problem by using excessive force. In doing so, Cardenas himself created the very crisis for which he later claimed to have needed to use deadly force.”

Attorneys also pointed out alleged discrepancies in Cardenas’ grand jury trial testimony versus bodycam footage of the incident.

In June of 2019, Graves’ parents were reportedly offered a $1 million settlement. In the judgment offer the defendants also recognized that the family’s motivation is to ensure an incident like this doesn’t happen again. As such they’ve offered to ensure that the Eagle Point Police Department’s tasers are refinished with a bright color.

On January 21, 2020, the plaintiffs’ attorneys announced they’ve settled the case for $4.5 million. The City of Eagle Point’s insurance will pay the settlement amount.

“As a result of this settlement, Matthew’s parents hope that police officers throughout the United States will become better trained in how to interact with the mentally ill and to know how to use de-escalation techniques,” attorneys said. “They hope the lawsuit will help prevent another tragedy like Matthew’s death.”

Graves’ parents plan to make “significant” donations in their son’s name to local organizations that help the homeless, their attorneys said. They also plan annual donations to mental health organizations that help people with schizophrenia.

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