Taxpayers now liable.
Eagle Point, OR — In October of 2018, a family was devastated and heartbroken after learning that the officers who took their son’s life would not be charged and were ruled justified in his killing—over improperly crossing the street. Matthew Graves, 33, was shot in the back twice by police last month after they followed him into a Carl’s Jr. bathroom because they suspected him of jaywalking. Now, after the cops who murdered him got off Scot free, the taxpayers are being held liable to the tune of $4.5 million.
As FOX 26 reports, 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 Daniel 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.”
“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’ family is now donating much of the money in their son’s name to local organizations that help the homeless.
Prior to his interaction with police, Graves was unarmed, had harmed absolutely no one, had no warrants, and was simply walking to Carl’s Jr. to get a bite to eat. However, because he crossed the road in a manner not fit for the police state—otherwise known as jaywalking—Graves would be killed in cold blood by public servants and die on the floor of a fast food restaurant bathroom.
The incident happened on September 19, 2018 but the body camera footage wasn’t released until a month later. It shows Officer Daniel Cardenas, an Eagle Point officer for two years, follow Graves because he allegedly crossed the road outside of a crosswalk.
According to Eagle Point District Attorney Beth Heckert, officer Cardenas followed Graves to the fast-food restaurant because he intended to talk to Graves about the dangers of jaywalking. Instead of informing Graves of anything, however, Cardenas walked into the Carl’s Jr. and pulled his gun on the diagnosed schizophrenic causing him to panic.
Vickie Graves explained at the time that her son was “not on drugs and did not have a weapon” during the incident. She addressed his mental illness: “he talked to himself frequently as he was a schizophrenic. A functioning one.”
On numerous occasions, police reactions to schizophrenics often lead to their deaths as police only know how to yell and escalate violence, two things which are known triggers for the mentally ill.
As the disturbing video below shows, Cardenas was the instigator and Graves merely wanted to get a bite to eat. Graves was simply washing his hands when the officer barged into the bathroom with the gun drawn—over jaywalking.
Within seconds, Graves was in panic mode as Cardenas shot him with the taser for trying to exit the bathroom. Moments later, the two were on the ground as Officer Clarence “C.J.” Davis arrived to help Cardenas. As the two officers held him down, we hear “he has a gun,” before two shots ring out.
He had no such gun. After shooting Graves, the officers realize that fact. When Cardenas asked where the gun Davis mentioned earlier was, Davis said that the officer’s taser on the ground could’ve been what he saw.
For walking across the street, an unarmed and arguably innocent man was killed in a bathroom by public servants, and the system calls this justice—a tragedy indeed.
“I will miss you my dear boy. I see you everywhere I go,” Vickie Graves wrote in a heartbreaking Facebook post after her son’s death. “My heart cries for you. We will always love and miss you. We will find out the reason why you were killed. Our lives will never be the same.”