New Jersey man is charged with harassment for yelling racial slurs and spitting on his black neighbor as crowd of 100 protesters gather outside his home
A white man who hurled racial abuse at a black neighbor – shoving him with his chest and telling him he was ‘from Africa’ before spitting on him – has been arrested and charged with harassment.
Edward Cagney Mathews, 45, was arrested on Monday evening after a crowd of around 100 protesters gathered outside of his Mount Laurel home for hours.
Mathews was well-known to police and had been the subject of numerous complaints from neighbors, NJ.com reported – but until now there had been no proof of his offensive behavior.
Protesters were enraged at new footage emerged on social media showing him confronting his neighbors, using the N-word and calling them monkeys.
Footage posted online showed Mathews, 45, squaring up to a neighbor – spitting on him, calling him the n-word and a ‘monkey’, and saying he was ‘from Africa’. The local prosecutor commended the black man for his restraint during the confrontation
Mathews had reportedly been a source of concern in the community for several years
Mathews was arrested on Monday evening after footage of the confrontation went viral
When the police were called, Mathews refused to go home and stood yelling abuse from the sidewalk, even as the officer told him: ‘Cagney, cut it out, man – let me talk to them.’
In the footage showing the confrontation on Friday, Mathews gives his address several times before finally walking away saying: ‘Come f****** see me.’
A large crowd of around 100 people accepted his invitation, and gathered at his home on Monday.
‘Now, what I did was not acceptable,’ said Mathews, in footage captured by protesters on Monday night.
‘It’s completely wrong.’
Earlier, he told The Philadelphia Inquirer he had been drunk and lost his temper.
‘Anybody that knows me know that I just talk like this,’ he said.
At least 100 people gathered outside Mathews’ home on Monday evening calling for his arrest
At 7:30pm police moved to arrest Mathews, as the crowd yelled and jeered
Angry demonstrators gathered outside Mathews’ home demanding he be arrested
Some protesters then attacked Mathews’ home, leading the riot police to move in
In a statement posted online on Monday morning, the Mount Laurel police department said Mathews was charged with harassment and biased intimidation but was initially issued a summons and was not arrested.
Mount Laurel is located 19 miles east of Philadelphia.
On Monday evening, prosecutors said at a press conference that they were bringing new charges against Mathews based on additional video footage.
He will face an additional charge after the prosecutor’s office reviewed additional footage from the incident and determined Mathews spat on the victim, said Mount Laurel Police Spokesman Kyle Gardner.
Gardner said the department is familiar with Mathews from previous complaints, but that in past cases a lot of the evidence was circumstantial.
Scott Coffina, Burlington County prosecutor, commended the victim who was targeted by Mathews in the video.
‘He showed incredible restraint with someone spewing awful, vile things in his face and assaulting him,’ Coffina said.
‘He didn’t deserve that. None of the residents deserve that. No one should ever feel unsafe in their home.’
On Monday evening police officers stood at the door of Mathews’ home while protesters gathered outside.
When police moved to arrest Mathews around 7.30pm, footage posted by a reporter shows protesters throwing objects towards officers and Mathews as they walk to a police car and then at the car as it drove away.
After Mathews was taken from his home, protesters smashed his condo’s windows and police in riot gear pushed them away from the area, NJ.com reported.
Police say they are investigating other incidents involving Mathews.
Marcus Sibley, president of the Southern Burlington NAACP, said Mathews has been harassing black residents in the neighborhood for at least three years and police had been notified in the past.
‘The main thing that makes you shake your head is how in the world has this gone unaddressed,’ Sibley said.
‘We’re looking for reform. When we say that we feel intimidated, we feel like we’re being hurt and harmed, we would love for the response to be: ‘This is wrong. This is inhumane. This is disrespectful, and we are going to prosecute at the fullest extent of the law, so other people learn this isn’t how you treat people.’ ‘
The township’s mayor and council released a statement Monday denouncing Mathew’s racism and ‘acts of hate like it.’
‘To say that we are appalled by the disturbing and vicious act of hate which was caught on camera would be an understatement,’ the statement read.
‘This man’s actions do not reflect who we are as a community nor out values.
‘Nobody should be made to feel unsafe or unwelcome in their own neighborhood let alone in their hometown.’