The City of Eagle Point has denied any culpability in the death of a mentally ill man killed by police during an altercation in a Carl’s Jr. bathroom.
The city says it intends to argue that Matthew Thayer Graves’ “own negligence was the cause of his death,” in response to a wrongful death lawsuit, according to a reply filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Medford.
Graves’ parents filed the suit in December against the city, police department and Daniel Cardenas, the officer who shot Graves on Sept. 19.
The city further specifies that Graves’ negligence included “failing to follow instructions by law enforcement officers,” “assaulting or otherwise physically engaging law enforcement officers” and “reaching for a weapon and attempting to use a weapon against law enforcement officers.”
Lawyers representing the Graves family have argued that Graves, who suffered from schizophrenia, was unarmed when he died the evening of Sept. 19 in an altercation that began with a jaywalking violation. A video of the incident was captured on Cardenas' body cam.
In October 2018, a split grand jury ruled Cardenas was justified for firing two shots in Graves’ back during the struggle because he feared for his life. Cardenas testified he believed that the department-issued, black Taser on the ground was a firearm.