SEVERE WX : Air Quality Alert - Fire Weather Watch - Red Flag Warning View Alerts

Grand Jury Clears Officers in Shooting at Eagle Point Carl's Jr.

A grand jury has decided not to indict two Eagle Point police officers who were involved in the shooting death of 33-year-old Matthew Thayer Graves during an altercation at Carl's Jr.

Posted: Oct 24, 2018 4:39 PM
Updated: Oct 24, 2018 5:59 PM

MEDFORD, Ore. — A grand jury has cleared two Eagle Point Police officers of wrongdoing in the shooting death of a man during an altercation at a Carl's Jr. restaurant in September.

Jackson County District Attorney Beth Heckert held a press conference on Wednesday at her office in Medford, where she explained the grand jury's decision and the sequence of events that investigators believe led to the shooting of 33-year-old Matthew Thayer Graves.

"After deliberating for about fifteen minutes, they decided that the officer acted lawfully," Heckert said of the grand jury proceedings. "That was their decision to make, whether there would be any criminal charges against the police officer."

There were seven grand jurors. Five of them agreed that the officers had acted lawfully in their dealings with Graves.

According to Heckert, the first officer to interact with Graves was Officer Cardenas. The officer sought to talk to Graves after witnessing him jaywalking through an intersection near the Carl's Jr. Heckert said that Graves "wouldn't really engage" with Cardenas, but shouted profanities at him before entering the restaurant, heading for the men's bathroom.

Officer Cardenas followed Graves into the bathroom of Carl's Jr. Heckert says that Cardenas drew his gun before walking through the door. He then tried to "have a conversation" with Graves, to which Graves was only partially responsive.

Heckert said that Graves was washing and drying his hands when Cardenas entered, so "having seen his hands," the officer holstered his gun and pulled out his taser. In response, Graves pulled out money and said that he wanted to go eat.

Graves reportedly tried and failed to push past the officer several times, but Cardinez ultimately responded by hitting Graves with the taser. 

"The probes hit Mr. Graves' chest and arm," Heckert said, "and they don't make a good connection, for whatever reason."

At that point, Heckert said, backup arrived for Officer Cardenas in the form of Officer Davis — another Eagle Point Police officer.  

Heckert says that when Davis arrived, Graves punched him in the face — knocking him to the floor. Officer Cardenas then rushed Graves, taking them both to the ground as well. Sometime during the resulting struggle, Cardenas' body cam is knocked off of his chest and lays face-up on the ground.

At that point, Heckert said, Officer Davis was disoriented. He saw a black object on the ground, and believed it to be a gun. It was actually Cardenas' taser.

Davis saw Graves' hands going for the "gun," and he struggled with Graves' hands in an attempt to knock the weapon away.

"Officer Davis announces something to the effect of 'he has a gun' or 'there's a gun,'" Heckert said. "At that moment, the thing that they believe was a gun is a taser — and it deploys."

Both of the officers claim that they did not pull the trigger on the stun weapon, so Heckert concluded that Graves pulled the trigger.

According to Heckert, Officer Davis — who is now getting tased as his hand was held over the weapon — then cries out that "it's a taser."

"But Officer Cardinez has already heard 'gun,' 'is it a gun,' 'gun'...and Officer Cardenas is now unholstering his firearm and he shoots Mr. Graves twice," Heckert said.

Officer Cardenas shot Graves twice in the upper back, killing him.

Shortly after that, Heckert said, body cam footage reveals the two officers sorting out the confusion over the taser that led to the shooting.

Both officers testified that, in the moment, they believed that Officer Davis' life was in danger from the "gun." According to Heckert, the grand jury expressed concern over the fact that the taser model used by the officers — the Taser X26P  — is black and looks very much like a gun.

A toxicology report on Graves revealed that he had no drugs in his system at the time of the incident. Although Graves has had no catalogued history of serious mental illness, according to Heckert, his father has claimed that he was "diagnosed with schizophrenia" while in jail, but Graves had insisted that he was not mentally ill and may have resisted treatment.

The DA's office intends to release body camera footage from both officers on Thursday, once Graves' family has had a chance to view it.

Heckert says that 10 witnesses went before the grand jury, but all of the people that were in the restaurant at the time of the altercation — aside from the two officers — ultimately "weren't available" to testify, despite attempts by the DA's office to contact them. Heckert said that the body camera footage served as an accurate representation of what transpired inside the restaurant.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 214869

Reported Deaths: 2836
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah41288617
Washington27471257
Marion24180329
Clackamas19603240
Lane14464171
Jackson12195151
Deschutes1035787
Umatilla918292
Linn607281
Yamhill496981
Klamath490279
Douglas423587
Polk421556
Josephine395874
Malheur365067
Benton338722
Jefferson245642
Coos226839
Columbia204732
Union159024
Lincoln151122
Wasco149831
Crook136824
Hood River124634
Morrow120317
Clatsop111810
Baker105717
Curry75512
Tillamook7285
Grant5577
Lake4848
Harney45111
Wallowa2086
Gilliam841
Sherman772
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3894556

Reported Deaths: 64228
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles127625424623
San Bernardino3040755236
Riverside3040604657
San Diego2906253793
Orange2787205141
Santa Clara1217672099
Sacramento1128961770
Kern1123181417
Fresno1036371736
Alameda939531272
Ventura829751041
San Joaquin760341446
Contra Costa74030830
Stanislaus650191085
Tulare50104854
Monterey44273524
San Mateo43880588
San Francisco38954561
Solano35193259
Santa Barbara35189465
Merced32814484
Sonoma31965328
Imperial28996745
Placer24530304
Kings23366248
San Luis Obispo21717264
Madera16885249
Santa Cruz16452207
Marin14589238
Yolo14574214
Butte12982203
Shasta12804242
El Dorado10774120
Napa1025281
Sutter9965115
Yuba681651
San Benito622963
Lassen586826
Tehama581566
Nevada518375
Humboldt489753
Mendocino457150
Tuolumne433473
Lake396364
Amador381648
Siskiyou252740
Glenn245727
Colusa233918
Calaveras227958
Del Norte15518
Inyo145338
Mono13125
Plumas7626
Modoc5737
Mariposa4857
Trinity4486
Sierra1240
Alpine890
Unassigned440
Medford
Clear
89° wxIcon
Hi: 100° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 85°
Brookings
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 58°
Feels Like: 66°
Crater Lake
Clear
89° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 85°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
89° wxIcon
Hi: 97° Lo: 59°
Feels Like: 85°
Klamath Falls
Clear
85° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 60°
Feels Like: 82°
Hot and smoky weekend
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events