Dozens of demonstrators showed up Monday at the home of a South Jersey man who was caught on video belligerently hurling racial slurs at one of his neighbors.
Edward Cagney Mathews, 45, attempted to address the crowd of around 100 people who gathered outside his Mount Laurel home before being forced back inside by police. He was eventually escorted to a waiting SUV, and protesters threw water bottles at the vehicle as it drove away.
Mount Laurel Police said they responded to a report shortly before 8 p.m. Friday from a resident who said she and her family were being “continually harassed” by Mathews.
In a video, which circulated widely on social media, Mathews repeatedly approaches his neighbor’s doorstep. At one point, he stands nose-to-nose with a black man and tells him to “learn your laws. This is not Africa … or wherever the f—k you were.”
“I was born in America,” his neighbor responds, “and I don’t give a s—t about you.”
During the argument, Mathews repeatedly uses the n-word and “monkey” to describe his neighbors.
When a police officer arrives, Mathews tells him to “go talk to these f—king n—–s.” When the officer tells Mathews to stop, he responds, “F—k you, go talk to the n—–s and let ’em know what I’m all about and what f—king rights they have.” Mathews also declines the police officer’s request to go back to his home, taking up a position within sight of the house he had just visited and saying, “I’ll stand right here, it’s common property.”
While the officer attempts to talk to the family, Mathews yells: “I’m not going away until your husband stops f—king finding me and threatening me while I’m at f—king work.”
After the officer tells him to “cut it out, man,” Mathews lets loose with a final “f—king n—–s!” before starting to walk away. As he returns for more, the officer tells him: “Cut it out, Cagney, go home.”
Mathews was later charged with harassment and biased intimidation.
Neighbors told WPVI the confrontation stemmed from months of issues involving the HOA board for the development where Mathews and his neighbor lived.
However, according to other neighbors, Mathews has a history of harassing non-white residents.
“The guy is off his rocker and they need to get him out,” Aliya Robinson told Fox 29. “He cannot be racially harassing and assaulting people, spitting on people, busting down doors, breaking windows and writing ‘White lives matter’ on stuff.”
Robinson’s daughter, Jazmyn Suszynski, told the station that Mathews accosted her at a different complex.
“When we first moved there, I guess he didn’t think minorities should live there, so he kicked my door in with my children there,” she said.
Southern Burlington NAACP President Marcus Sibley told NJ.com he wants to see additional charges brought against Mathews due to his alleged history.
“We’ve seen people get shot for less,” Sibley claimed. “And he [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.”
The Mount Laurel Police Department called Mathews’ behavior “totally unacceptable.”
“The Mount Laurel Police Department does not tolerate hate or bias intimidation in any form … We can assure our residents that incidents like this are thoroughly investigated and that those who commit such offenses will be held accountable for their actions,” the department said in a statement.
“To say that we are appalled by the disturbing and vicious act of hate which was caught on camera would be an understatement,” Mount Laurel’s mayor and town council said in a separate statement. “This man’s actions do not reflect who we are as a community nor our values. Nobody should be made to feel unsafe or unwelcome in their own neighborhood let alone in their hometown … this is not who we are and what our township stands for.”
Mathews claimed to Philadelphia’s NBC10 that he was not a racist.
“I’ve never been a racist,” he said. “I’ve made mistakes, said racial slurs out of anger or being drunk. I may not be able to relate to communities of color but I am not a racist and I have the upmost respect for us as a community.”