EAGLE POINT, Ore. – Grand jury trial testimony about a fatal officer-involved shooting in Eagle Point has been publicly released.
The shooting happened on September 19, 2018, at the Carl’s Junior restaurant on Linn Road near Highway 62. Prosecutors said Matthew Graves was shot and killed by Officer Daniel Cardenas during a confrontation in the restaurant’s bathroom.
On December 4, the D.A.’s office released the full transcript of a grand jury trial, which cleared Officer Cardenas of any wrongdoing. The document shows questions posed by District Attorney Beth Heckert to numerous witnesses, including Graves’ father and the officers involved in the incident.
According to Michael Graves, his son’s behavior wasn’t out of the ordinary the night he was killed. “He was calm that day,” Michael stated under oath. “It wasn’t… he wasn’t agitated. He was just going down there to get his hamburgers for his dinner.”
Michael Graves went on to describe Matthew’s history of mental illness and drug use. Matthew also reportedly refused to take medication prescribed for schizophrenia. However, his father described him as a nonviolent person. “…if he became aggressive that night, it would have been because of what the officers said. Or… or their actions that caused him to get aggressive,” Michael Graves said. “He [Matthew] just wasn’t processing the matter property.”
When Eagle Point Police Officer Daniel Cardenas took the stand, he stated Matthew wasn’t responsive his to commands. “And in my reality in my job, every single time someone has walked away from me or ran, it’s been for four different reasons: person either has a warrant; person has drugs on them; people have a concealed weapon they are not supposed to have; and/or they just committed a crime,” Cardenas said.
Other witnesses testified at the trial, including the other officer involved, who described confusion among both officers about a taser being mistaken for a gun. Officer Clarence “CJ” Davis said that during the scuffle, he saw what he thought was a gun. “I… as I yell, ‘gun,’ I grab it with my hand, trap it, and push it offline and against the floor and hold it down.” Davis said he was zapped by the taser. “At that point, I realized it wasn’t a gun.”
According to his own testimony, Davis’ realization came too late. Two rounds were fired by Officer Cardenas, killing Matthew Graves.
The full transcript of the grand jury trial exonerating Officer Cardenas can be found HERE.
You can read an unedited transcript from one of the officer’s body cams, which contains language some may find offensive, HERE.