A New Jersey man who was filmed saying a racial slur to his black neighbor and making other racist remarks toward him in July is facing 22 charges against him, including bias, intimidation, and harassment, stemming from six separate incidents that took place between 2016 and 2021.
Edward Mathews, 45, of Mount Laurel, New Jersey, sparked outrage after a video of him yelling at a Black man outside his own house went viral. In the clip, Matthews called the neighbor a "monkey" and the N-word.
At one point in the video, the neighbor is seen pushing Matthews back as he gets into his face. Matthews then threatened to press assault charges against the man before asserting that his actions are permissible because he is on public property. "This isn't your property, you dumb [n-word]," Matthews told the young man in the video. "Learn your law. It's not Africa."
"I was born in America, sir," the neighbor replies, to which Matthews says, "Well, then you know what common ground is." Matthews then accused the man of assaulting him and said the last person who got involved with him had his windows shot out with a shotgun and "their daughter got smashed." Watch the video below:
The video prompted hundreds of protesters to gather outside his home in the days that followed the encounter as Matthews was arrested on July 5. He was later booked on bias intimidation and harassment charges.
Charges Against Matthews Stem From 6 Separate Incidents
Matthews is now facing a total of 22 charges, stemming from racially charged incidents that happened last year, including one when he reportedly damaged a car and left a threatening note. He had reportedly forced the neighbor's friend to leave the area after a racist incident, according to police and then left them a note that read, "One down, few to go."
Mathews reportedly has had 43 complaints registered against him going back to 2016. Many of the protestors were reportedly upset at the Mount Laurel Police Department's (MLPD) handling of the incidents, and in particular, felt the department has often shown Mathews favoritism. An independent investigation into these accusations did not implicate the department.
"With a broader perspective on the situation in the community, MLPD might have been able to devise an effective solution and brought relief to the residents Mathews had victimized sooner than his July 2 arrest," the prosecutor's office said in a statement. In regards to the independent investigation, the office said that they "empathize with the residents of Essex Place who were on the receiving end of Mathews' conduct."
"No one should have to endure racial harassment anywhere, but especially not in their own neighborhood and even in their own home," said one of the prosecutors. The investigation reportedly came to the conclusion that the MLPD viewed Mathews' conduct on a singular basis, and did not view him as a larger problem in the community, despite the number of complaints against him.