Civil suit filed against officer who shot Matthew Graves

Bodycam image of the incident involving Matthew Thayer Graves

MEDFORD, Ore. – A wrongful death suit has been filed against the Eagle Point Police Department and the officer who shot and killed Matthew Graves.

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

Prosecutors say 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 third 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 on December 6.

Attorneys acting on behalf of Graves say his civil rights were violated and the shooting was unjust.

They argue Graves was “doggedly pursued” by Officer Cardenas after he was observed 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.

Read the press release from attorneys representing Graves HERE.

Considering the evidence, Graves’ parents decided to file a lawsuit against Officer Cardenas and the Eagle Point Police Department, alleging civil rights violations and wrongful death.

Attorneys said the suit was filed to bring accountability to law enforcement officers when interacting with mentally ill people, such as Matthew Graves.

Read the entire civil complaint HERE.

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