Police: 2 neighbors reported white man for racist harassment

Edward C. Mathews, 45, arrested outside Mount Laurel home

Generic image of police lights.
Generic image of police lights. (pixabay)

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. – A white man who called multiple neighbors racist slurs and claimed he forced other Black residents to move, has been charged with harassment and disorderly conduct, according to local police.

A warrant dated Monday and other charging documents show at least two neighbors called police to report Edward C. Mathews, 45, on Friday for harassing them in a Mount Laurel neighborhood.

A Black woman in the neighborhood called police on Friday saying Mathews was harassing her, approaching her front door and shouting racial slurs, according to prosecutors. She had previously told police she suspected Mathews of “criminal mischief” involving her car.

A doorbell camera captures Mathews bringing his dogs to her front yard, repeating a racial slur and thrusting his hips in a vulgar way after police responded and talked to him, prosecutors said.

Police then received a second call from a nearby address and found Mathews using racial slurs to address four people, which appears to be the interaction caught on video that drew widespread attention online.

That confrontation happened after Mathews knocked on a neighbor's door demanding to see her husband, who is Black, and attempted to enter her home, prosecutors said. The woman, who is white, called police and another neighbor came over to find Mathews in the walkway.

A message was left with the public defender's office seeking comment on behalf of Mathews.

Mathews was initially charged with harassment and biased intimidation but was not arrested. On Monday, protesters gathered outside of his home for many hours. He apologized in a video filmed by a protester and posted online.

Police arrested Mathews Monday evening and said he was in jail on Tuesday and will be held until a hearing likely on Friday.

“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 Tuesday. “No one should ever have to deal with such hatred thrown in their face anywhere, but especially on their own doorstep.”

Police are investigating if protesters who threw objects toward officers and Mathews as they arrested him committed any crimes, Coffina said.

Mount Laurel is located 19 miles (30 kilometers) east of Philadelphia.