White man who pushed Black neighbor in racist rant arrested after protesters show up at his home

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MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. — A white man was arrested after video of him yelling racial slurs at a Black neighbor sparked an anti-racism protest at his home.

Edward Cagney Mathews, 45, was seen in a widely circulated video Friday pushing a neighbor with his chest and using racist slurs before giving his address and challenging the person filming him to visit his home.

He was charged with harassment and bias intimidation Friday but not arrested until Monday after 150 protesters showed up at his home. On Monday evening, prosecutors said at a news conference that they were bringing new charges against Mathews based on additional video footage, but they did not say what the new charges were. He was taken to Burlington County Jail.

“It is difficult to overstate how vile and despicable the conduct by this defendant towards his neighbors was on Friday night," Burlington County Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina said in a statement. "No one should ever have to deal with such hatred thrown in their face anywhere, but especially on their own doorstep.

Before he was arrested, Mathews is heard saying in another video that “what I did was not acceptable. It’s completely wrong.”

The original video, which Mount Laurel police called "disturbing," shows Mathews taunting a Black man at the door of a home, repeatedly using racial slurs and refusing to leave until the police arrive. Mathews yells at the man to "come see me," then states his full address.

Residents of the South Jersey town and beyond took him up on the invitation Monday. A loud but peaceful crowd gathered for hours outside Mathews' home, chanting "Black Lives Matter" and "This is what community looks like."

"He's an elite, entitled white supremacist, and that's why he thought he could give his address with no consequence," said Angeline Dean of Mount Laurel, who joined the protesters outside Mathews' home.

Some angrily questioned police officers, demanding to know why Mathews had not been arrested sooner. Residents also expressed frustration with the police response to the confrontation and said Matthews had a history of engaging in racial incidents at the apartment complex.

In another incident Friday, Mathews allegedly targeted another Black neighbor, according to a probable cause statement for his arrest.

Verlyn H. Gibbons reported that Mathews “was harassing her by approaching her front door, shouting offensive language and racial slurs at her."

She called police, and according to the statement, answered her door later in the day expecting a visit from a detective.

Instead, she encountered Mathews “cursing at her and denying being a suspect to the criminal mischief,” the statement said. Gibbons quickly shut her door and called police, who spoke to Mathews at the complex.

But when police left the area, “Mathews [was] captured on Ms. Gibbons’ security camera, looking directly at the camera and thrusting his hips in a lewd motion while laughing."

The statement also notes Gibbons’ allegations of hearing slurs from Mathews “various times over the last few months, but those incidents have not been captured on video."

Another resident, Jazmyn Suszynski, said she complained to police about alleged harassment by Mathews in 2017. "The police did not help me," she said.

Jazmyn Suszynski said she complained to police about alleged harassment by Mathews in 2017. "The police did not help me," she said.

Mount Laurel police spokesman Kyle Gardner told USA TODAY that police investigated previous complaints about Mathews but those complaints were either dropped or prosecutors did not find probable cause to recommend charges. Gardner said police are investigating other incidents involving Matthews and are expecting more protests Tuesday.

Mayor Stephen Steglik on Tuesday also called for the creation of a "diversity and inclusion board" to improve the township's communications with its residents and a federal hate crimes investigation into Mathews' actions.

"We must have accountability and transparency as to why the process to get Mathews in police custody was filled with loopholes that seemingly protected a known harasser," Steglik said.

Contributing: The Associated Press. Nicolette White and Jim Walsh reporting for the Burlington County Times. N'dea Yancey-Bragg reporting for USA TODAY.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY NETWORK: New Jersey man arrested after racist rant sparks protest at his home

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