A white New Jersey man who was captured in a viral video in 2021 harassing his Black neighbors and hurling racial slurs was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison.
Edward C. Mathews, 47, was ordered to serve at least four years before he is eligible for parole, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
In October, he pleaded guilty to four counts of bias intimidation and possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute. The charges stem from a 2021 incident in which footage showed him repeatedly calling his neighbors the N-word and another offensive slur outside a home in Mount Laurel.
Mathews Heard Calling His Neighbor a 'Monkey,' Used Racial Slurs in Viral Video
Mathews was slapped with 22 charges, as previously reported, in the wake of the racist incident. On July, 2021, a resident filed a harassment complaint against Mathews with the Mount Laurel Police Department. That same day, police received a report about a man who needed to be removed from the area.
When officers arrived, they found Mathews "using racial slurs while engaged in a verbal altercation with four residents," prosecutors said. Video footage that was widely circulated on social media showed Mathews yelling at a Black neighbor outside his own house, calling him a "monkey" and using racial slurs.
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:
Mathews Had a History of Terrorizing His Black Neighbors, Leaving Threatening Notes, Vandalizing Property
During a search of Mathews' home, police found numerous psilocin mushrooms, which are known for their hallucinogenic effect, according to prosecutors.
Burlington County Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw said said Mathews had a pattern of terrorizing his Black neighbors, including a time when he allegedly left a threatening note on one of their vehicles. He was also accused of stalking, smearing feces on his neighbors' windows and damaging their cars, NBC Philadelphia reported.
He apologized for his behavior during his sentencing. "Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future," he told the judge, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. "I want to commit to rebuild the community." He said he accepted responsibility and said he was sorry for "my insensitive and disrespectful words in the past."
Mathews, who has been in custody since his arrest, will get credit for the time he's already served and will be eligible for parole in about 16 months, according to the Inquirer