Warning: The embedded video includes racial slurs and other vulgar language.
MOUNT LAUREL – Residents and neighbors took their outrage to the doorstep of a township man who was charged last week with bias crimes after being captured on video verbally abusing a young Black man.
The community says Edward Cagney Mathews’ alleged harassment and intimidation of Black neighbors has gone on too long
On Friday, Mathews, 45, was charged with harassment and bias intimidation after a resident on the 3800 block of Gramercy Way reported Mathews was continuously harassing her.
The charges against Mathews are merely allegations. He has not been convicted of any crime related to this case.
A video of Mount Laurel Police Department is calling “disturbing” in a Facebook post has been widely circulated on social media showing Mathews shouting racial slurs and offensive language at his neighbors in Essex Place Condominiums.
Neighbors, though, are unsatisfied with the police response and an officer who arrived on scene saying this isn’t the first time Mathews has caused problems with his neighbors.
“If you do your research, this guy has been harassing many people in that complex,” said Marcus Sibley, president of the Southern Burlington NAACP. “If you have a repeat offender and this is a hate crime, we need to stop giving people lollipop repercussions and an example needs to be made out of this person.”
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In one video, Mathews can be seen loudly taunting a younger Black man at the door of a home, repeatedly using racial slurs and refusing to leave until the police arrive.
In the video, which has been shared widely online, Mathews yells at the man to “come see me” then states his full home address.
Residents in the South Jersey town and beyond started showing up at Mathews home on Monday.
“I’m here to stand up for young black people that are always getting attacked, mostly by white men,” said protester Aaiana Williams, a 17-year-old student at Lenape Regional High School.
“I came out here to try to make a difference,” added her friend, Ileana Swann of Mount Laurel.
“Even though it takes forever, the more we do it, the better,” she said.
She was part of a loud but peaceful crowd of more than 150 people that gathered for hours outside Matthews’ home at the Essex Place development.
“I just want it to be over and for all people to come together,” said Williams, who asserted similar incidents occur “all the time.”
Early Monday afternoon, police shut down Ark Road between Coventry Way and Marne Highway outside the Essex Place complex,
Demonstrators joined together in chanting messages that included “Black Lives Matter” and “This is what community looks like.”
Some angrily questioned police officers, demanding to know why Matthews had not been arrested sooner.
Sibley, who says he was out of town when local residents started to flood him with Facebook messages of the racially charged encounter, decided to cut his trip short to be with his community during where he says leadership presence is needed.
“I watched the live video of people coming to his house and I said you know what, it wasn’t in my plans to come back right away but it’s definitely a situation where the local NAACP president needs to be present,” said Sibley.
As for the response by Mount Laurel police, Sibley says his group is more concerned with the lack of intervention made by the officer rather than the racist rant itself.
“I could really care less about some racist guy, we have a lot of those,” said Sibley. “Where we have an issue is the response of the officer when he got on the scene. Not once did he offer anything that would make that Black person feel like I feel protected and served at this point.”
This is a developing story and will be updated.
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