What Happened to Matthew Graves

Family to file suit over police shooting death – Medford Tribune, October 26, 2018

A lawyer representing the parents of a mentally ill man shot dead by Eagle Point police in a Carl’s Jr. bathroom said they plan to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the Eagle Point Police Department after seeing bodycam footage of the shooting released Wednesday.

David Linthorst, with the Medford-based law firm of Andersen Morse & Linthorst, said he was with Mike and Vicki Graves when they saw the bodycam video for the first time. It shows how their son, 33-year-old Matthew Graves, was shot twice during a struggle with two officers on the bathroom floor.

DOWNLOAD – Transcript of Eagle Point Police officer Daniel Cardenas’ body camera (PDF)

Eagle Point officer cleared in fatal shooting at Carl’s Jr. – Mail Tribune, October 24, 2018

A split grand jury decided it would not bring charges against an Eagle Point police officer who fatally shot a mentally ill man in the back after a struggle inside a Carl’s Jr. bathroom.

Officer Daniel Cardenas and his backup CJ Davis were justified in the shooting death of 33-year-old Matthew Thayer Graves because they thought he had a gun, the grand jury decided 5-2.

An officer’s black stun gun that fell to the floor during the struggle showed signs that Graves deployed the nonlethal weapon at the officers at least once, according to Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert.

Body camera footage released in Oregon police fatal shooting in Carl’s Jr. bathroom – Oregonian, October 26, 2018

Over the course of about 90 seconds, an encounter between a police officer and a man inside a southern Oregon Carl’s Jr. bathroom last month turned deadly, video released Thursday shows.

The Jackson County District Attorney’s Office released body camera footage in the Sept. 19 fatal shooting of Matthew Graves, 33, in Eagle Point. District Attorney Beth Heckert announced Wednesday that a county grand jury determined Officer Daniel Cardenas, an Eagle Point officer for two years, was legally justified in shooting Graves. The shooting occurred during a fight in the restroom between Graves, Cardenas and Senior Officer Clarence “C.J.” Davis, a 15-year department veteran who arrived as backup to Cardenas.

Southern Oregon cop justified in killing man in Carl’s Jr. bathroom, grand jury rules – Oregonian, October 24, 2018

Cardenas later shot Graves twice in the back after Davis repeatedly yelled that Graves had a gun, Heckert said. Graves died at the restaurant. Heckert said Cardenas followed Graves to the Carl’s Jr. and into the bathroom after Graves refused to answer his questions, wouldn’t follow the officer’s orders once in the restroom and at one point grabbed Cardenas when the officer wouldn’t let him leave.

Toxicology results showed Graves had no traces of drugs or alcohol in his system. Graves’ father testified to jurors that his son was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2012, stopped taking his medication soon after the diagnosis and since then refused relatives’ efforts to get him to see doctors, according to Heckert. The father said he didn’t notice anything unusual in Graves’ demeanor on the day he was killed.

Grand Jury makes ruling in Eagle Point Officer-Involved Shooting – KTVL.com. October 24, 2018

The grand jury in the case of the Eagle Point office-involved shooting at Carl’s Jr. on September 19th decided that the officer had acted lawfully.

Five of the seven grand jurors concluded that the actions of Officer Daniel Cardenas were fully justified and in compliance with Oregon law. Matthew Thayer Graves was fatally shot by an Eagle Point police officer at the Carl’s Jr. Restaurant in September of this year.

On Wednesday, Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert spoke to the media on what the Grand Jury was asked to consider whether the actions of the police officer were justified as a lawful use of deadly force. Oregon law provides a person may use deadly physical force against another person if the person reasonable believes that person is about to use deadly physical force against the person or another person.

Rally to promote mental health awareness after Matthew Graves death – KOBI.com, October 2, 2018

Family and friends of Matthew Thayer Graves rallied together at the Eagle Point police department Monday night to bring awareness to mental health.

Matthew Graves was shot and killed by an Eagle Point police officer last month.

Family members say Graves suffered from Schizophrenia and hope the rally will push law enforcement to learn how to better handle situations with people who have a mental illness.

They had a sign that read, “Don’t jump the gun, get educated.” The sign also read “#justiceformatt.”

Family seeks answers in man’s death – Mail Tribune, September 22, 2018

The family of 33-year-old Matthew Graves say they understood his struggles with mental illness, but they have no idea why Eagle Point police shot him to death.

Graves heard voices in his head, had conversations with himself, eschewed electronics and lived a life of household chores followed by long walks to restaurants, according to his older sister Laurie Bentson, 47, of Scottsdale, Arizona, who said his family never knew him as dangerous.

If Graves had a weapon leading up to the shooting Wednesday night in a bathroom at the Eagle Point Carl’s Jr., Bentson said she and her parents have no idea what it could be. He had an aversion to anything metal.

“He didn’t even use utensils, he used plastic,” Bentson said. “What’s the weapon? What happened?”

In the years that followed his schizophrenia diagnosis in 2012, Graves had a habit of walking from his parents’ home into town where he would spend the money he earned doing household chores and collecting bottle deposits at fast food restaurants in Eagle Point and the movie theater in White City.

“Carl’s Jr. was his new kick,” Bentson said, adding that he’d walk there five or six times a week after his chores.

His criminal history largely surrounded drug and burglary convictions involving family members, such as an incident in 2010 when he picked up a painkiller prescription for another sister at a Medford pharmacy and kept some of the pills, or first-degree burglary for a January 2011 incident in when he took cash from his mother’s purse after being trespassed from their home on Vista Park Drive, according to Jackson County Circuit Court records.

His last jail booking was in 2012 for violating his probation on a meth-possession conviction, according to Jackson County Jail records.

None of the crimes were violent, Bentson said, and Graves stopped doing drugs after he was diagnosed with schizophrenia at the jail in 2012.

“I’m not saying he was an angel,” Bentson said. “He was highly functional.”

On the day of Eagle Point Police Department’s first shooting in more than two decades, Graves had helped his mother, Vickie Graves, by riding with her to the Eagle Point Walmart. She had him do the shopping while she waited in the car.

“My mom wanted him to do that independently,” Bentson said. “We encouraged all that.”

She made chicken tacos for dinner, but Graves decided to walk to Carl’s Jr. for some hamburgers afterward.

“He was always around people, but he was quiet,” Bentson said. “He would just keep his head down and keep walking.”

Bentson, who’s in Eagle Point for the second time this month — the first being for their parents’ 50th wedding anniversary — said she has no idea what led to the run-in with police.

“He’d been walking to town since 2012, 2011,” Bentson said. “The community restaurant owners, they would know him … he was never a threat to anybody.”

The only recent change was that he’d grown out his hair to a grunge-type look. She’d seen him two weeks ago for their parents’ anniversary celebration. Graves was the youngest of four children.

“That’s it. He grew his hair out, and he loved it,” Bentson said.

Bentson said her parents are distraught, though Bentson described their father as “seeking to understand.”

“They just want to know what happened,” Bentson said.


Matthew Grave’s mother is speaking out to our community, sharing who he was. She tells NewsWatch12 he had his issues with addiction and mental health, but has never been violent.

Nearly two weeks after 33-year-old Matthew Graves was shot and killed by police, his family still has more questions than answers. The investigation into Grave’s death is continuing as the Jackson County District Attorney digs into the events of that night.

Vicki Graves, Matthew’s mother, tells NewsWatch12 she would trade places with Matt if she could.
Graves says, “I hope that he didn’t die in fear, or a lot of pain, I hope he didn’t do that, I hope whatever happened was quick.”

Court documents show Matthew Graves did have a history in an out of jail. His mother Vicki says there was a time where he “got in with a few people that were not for his highest good and you know that was a dark period.”

Now sober, Matthew was recently diagnosed with schizophrenia. Graves mentioned, “I do believe he’s in a better place where he’s at now he doesn’t have schizophrenia, he doesn’t have any of those voices.”

Now the Graves family is looking for answers.

District Attorney Beth Heckert says a grand jury trial date is not set at this time.

From Vicki Graves’ Facebook post, September 23, 2017

We lost our son on the evening of Wed., Sept 19th at Carl Juniors ,in the bathroom, in Eagle Point.
He was shot to death by the local police. He was not on drugs, and did not have a weapon.
He walked 2 miles to Carl’s Junior to buy a couple of hambergers and bring them home to eat.
He DID have long curly hair, walked very fast and talked to himself. He DID NOT do drugs. He talked to himself frequently as he was a Schizophrenic. A functioning one.
Our grief is immeasurable!!
There are no words for the loss we feel!!
For some reason Matt was singled out as he walked in town. The police followed him and engaed in a confrontation.
Matthew was scared and walked into the facilities rest room.
The officer followed and the confrontation contined until the officer called for a back up.
Shortly after this officer arrived Matt yelled NO! NO! NO! and was tased.Then there were gun shots heard. Matt was carried out of the restaurant after being pronounced dead with 2 gunshot wounds!
My baby, my last child is dead!
We will never see him again, talk to him or have a family Holiday with him.
I have heard a lot of smack about him being a drug addict so I have a few words of enlightment for those of you who think this.
“Never judge a person by his looks”.
Matt was 33 years old and has lived with us since we moved here 31 yrs. ago.
He did his 12 years of schooling here in Eagle Point. He then went to Rogue Community College and later to Abdill Career school for his MA.
Because of the onset of his Schizophrenia he was never able to utilize his MA degree.
He did use Meth for a short period of time as he met some people who he thought were his friends but were definitely NOT his friends. He was diagnosed with Schizophrenis while in jail.
Matt worked for a company with his Dad and was reported as being a very hard worker. This was major physical labor. This lasted for about two years until he decided he did not want to be around people .
He then worked on our property for occassional money and used the refund for can money for personal use.
Up until the week he died he helped his Dad on a private job every week-end. Again, hard physical labor.
Matt had a kind heart. A couple of weeks ago we stopped so he could give a homeless man a couple dollars he had. When he handed it to him he said “have a good day Buddy”.
Matt has not used drugs in 6-7 years.
He felt safe in this small town he grew up in and the local law enforcement let him down. They killed him and I would like to know WHY as many others would also.
His home with us was his safe zone.
He did not want much.
He loved to walk and food was a great joy for him,especially sweets.
The evening he was
killed I drove to Wal Mart and had him do some shopping . Passing Carl’s Junior’s he asked if I was going to stop. Sadly, I said no as I had to get home to fix chicken tacos for dinner.
I am so sorry Matt. If I would have stopped you would be alive now because you would not have walked there.
Please, please forgive me.
Today I viewed my childs body for the upcoming funeral. I saw the autopsy stitches, the hand cuts to check for use of drugs and the entry and exit of bullet wounds.
This handsome man was marred beyond measure!
Thank You GOD for letting us have him for 33 years , for both the good and bad times, as it was a learning tool for all of us.
I will miss you my dear boy. I see you everywhere I go here as you have lived here as long as we have.
My heart cries for you:( We will always love and miss you.
We will find out the reason why yoiu were killed.
Our lives will never be the same!

Beloved images of Matthew Thayer Graves throughout is life. Created by Henry Bentson and Vicki Graves.