Protesters Converge on Home of Man Accused of Racist Rant

Edward Mathews, arrested Monday, says he was drunk when he hurled racial slurs at neighbor
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2021 8:19 AM CDT
Protesters Converge on Home of Man Accused of Racist Rant
Police escort Edward Cagney Mathews (balding man in center, under green flag) through a crowd of people who'd gathered outside his Mount Laurel, NJ, home, on Monday.   (Tom Gralish/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

A Friday confrontation between a white New Jersey man and his Black neighbor led to an arrest on Monday, police say—but not before dozens of people showed up at his home to protest. Per NBC Philadelphia, a video on social media shows the Friday incident, which took place in Mount Laurel. A man identified by police as 45-year-old Edward Cagney Mathews can be seen in the six-minute video getting in his neighbor's face, laughing and proclaiming he isn't trespassing. "Learn your laws, it's not Africa," the white man says, to which the upset Black neighbor replies, "I was born in America." The suspect also hurls the n-word more than once, and refers to the neighbor and others as "monkeys." A police officer eventually comes onto the scene and tells the ranting man to "cut it out." The suspect also gives out his address to the person filming the incident and taunts, "Come f---ing see me. ... Bring whoever."

And that's exactly what happened after the video made its rounds online, with more than 100 "livid" protesters showing up in front of Mathews' home on Monday, per the Washington Post. Police took Mathews through the crowd and into custody around 7:30pm. Mathews tells the Inquirer he was drunk during the Friday incident and "lost my temper" over a longtime HOA dispute, though he insists he's not prejudiced. "I may not be able to relate to communities of color, but I am not a racist," he tells NBC. Other neighbors—including this woman—say they've complained to police many times about Mathews and nothing was done. A Mount Laurel Police Department rep confirmed those past complaints but said police hadn't had enough to go on to bring charges that stuck. Mathews, who has been charged with harassment and bias intimidation, will also be hit with an assault charge, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said Monday, per the Post. (More racist remark stories.)

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