The full extent of the racist terror waged for years by a white man against his Black neighbors in South Jersey is coming to light after a video showing him using the N-word multiple times and calling Black people “monkeys” went viral over the holiday weekend.
Edward Cagney Mathews was recorded confronting a Black neighbor in Mt. Laurel Township on Friday and even appearing to assault him. When a police officer responded, Mathews was greeted familiarly, suggesting the two men knew each other. It would be more than two days later before police actually arrested Mathews on Monday night, but only after dozens of neighbors protested at his doorstep for hours.
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Mathews, 45, was only charged with bias intimidation and harassment but could face additional charges for possibly spitting on the neighbor.
But the neighbor at the center of the viral video — identified as the president of the homeowners’ association in the suburban Philadelphia community — was far from the only local resident to claim that Mathews has been a racist scourge to the area.
Mathews has been terrorizing his condo community with racist, anti-Black hatred for four years, one local activist told NBC Philadelphia.
After the above video went viral, another neighbor took to Facebook to post her own videos showing Mathews intimidating her with racist hostility. Jazmyn Jene described her legal and nearly physical battle with Mathews, her upstairs neighbor who she said “hated” the noise her young son made. She claims Mathews “has made threats, filed false complaints, tried to pin people against me constantly HARASSED ME..Tried to force me to drop charges, spray painted my car… He KICKED IN MY DOOR with numerous people present and Mount Laurel Police Department DID NOTHING..”
Another neighbor described Mathews to CBS Philadephia as “intolerable” and “egregious.”
Yet another neighbor said Mathews “has used a BB gun to shoot [neighbors’] windows out, smeared dog feces all over their cars. He’s put nails in their tire rims.”
The police seemed to be making excuses for why Mathews’ racist terror was allowed for so long.
“He had been brought to court before but those charges were either dismissed or no probable cause was ever found,” Mt. Laurel Police Chief Steve Riedener said. “We had investigated him several times. But until this particular incident where the neighbors had video available from the ring cameras and things of that nature, we were finally able to get the evidence that we needed to actually charge him with the crimes he was committing.”
Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina credited the neighbor in the first viral video from Fridy with showing “incredible restraint with someone spewing awful, vile things in his face and assaulting him.”
The head of the local NAACP chapter called for more charges to be filed against Mathews, who has thus far eluded being charged with a hate crime.
“We’ve seen people get shot for less. And (Mathews) not only used one of the most demeaning terms you can give to a Black person, he said it with no hesitation, but he also said it once the police officer came and cursed at the police officer,” Southern Burlington NAACP President Marcus Sibley told NJ.com.
The familiarity displayed between Mathews and the first officer on the scene on Friday also suggests a level of intimacy between the two that is indicative of the larger issue of white supremacist sympathy in law enforcement.
“They had a conversation with him like it was nothing,” one woman named Tia Brown said about the police interaction with Mathews. “No one should have to deal with a neighbor like that.”
Mathews’ purported apology rang hollow and didn’t accept responsibility for his own actions, suggesting he was drunk at the time while ignoring all the other past allegations and video evidence of his racist terror.
“I certainly wasn’t expecting an encounter like that and certainly wasn’t expecting to disrespect anybody,” Mathews told the Philadelphia Inquirer on Monday. “Let me be clear: That is no excuse for what I said, but I lost my temper.”
Mathews is expected to remain in jail until he is arraigned.
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