White Mount Laurel , N.J. man who went viral for racist rant indicted on multiple charges

The entrance to Essex Place condominium complex

Essex Place condominium complex in Mount Laurel, N.J. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

The white Mount Laurel man, whose racist rant against Black neighbors was captured on video that went viral last summer, has been formally indicted by a grand jury.

Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina announced the 15-count indictment against Edward Cagney Mathews on Tuesday. The charges include multiple weapons counts, as well as stalking, criminal mischief, and four counts of bias intimidation.

The charges stem from several incidents, beginning last July when a resident filed a complaint against Matthews with the Mount Laurel Police Department. A short time later, according to the prosecutor’s office, a Mount Laurel officer responded to the Essex Place Condominiums, where Mathews was filmed by a bystander during a confrontation with a Black neighbor.

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In the video, Mathews is heard using racial slurs and cursing at two of his Black neighbors. At one point, Mathews gave out his address and invited people to “come see me.”

People did, on a holiday. Hundreds of protesters showed up to the neighborhood to confront Mathews. Police eventually took him into custody.

Mathews remains at the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly, prosecutors said. His home in the community has since been sold. His attorney has not yet returned a request for comment.

Shortly after his arrest, residents of Essex Place said the July incident was just the tip of the iceberg. Some told WHYY News doorbell cameras had been installed and bylaws of the community were changed because of Mathews’ behavior.

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Since Mathews has been in custody, more charges have been added as prosecutors opened an investigation into previous incidents. During a search of Matthews’ former home, officers seized a slingshot and multiple ball bearings that matched projectiles he allegedly used to cause damage to his neighbors’ vehicles.

More charges were added last October, when a handwriting analysis by the FBI connected Mathews to a threatening note left on a Black neighbor’s vehicle earlier in the year. The vehicle was also covered in feces.

The incident has also brought scrutiny to the Mount Laurel Police Department over its handling of the incidents. The department has denied showing favoritism toward Mathews. It also prompted the NAACP chapters in Burlington County to conduct a survey on how residents are treated by law enforcement in the county.

Saturdays just got more interesting.

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