The New Jersey man arrested after a viral video showed him berating his neighbor with racial slurs last summer is facing new charges of bias intimidation and harassment.
Edward Cagney Mathews, 45, left a threatening handwritten note on a Mount Laurel neighbor’s car and smeared feces on the vehicle, prosecutors alleged in a press release Tuesday.
Charges were filed after the FBI determined that the message was scrawled in the suspect’s handwriting.
Mathews is now facing a total of 22 charges, including criminal mischief, possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose, drug possession with intent to distribute, and stalking.
The suspect has been in Burlington County Jail since his July 5 arrest, and a grand jury is weighing an indictment against him.
Mathews, who is white, was confronted by protestors at his home after a video showed him chest-bumping a black neighbor and yelling “learn your laws … this is not Africa … or wherever the f—k you were.”
Four of the protestors were charged Tuesday with pepper-spraying Mathews and responding cops who showed up to arrest him, as well as damaging property and spitting at police, prosecutors said.
“The outrage sparked by Mathews’ conduct on the viral video does not give permission to anyone to commit unprovoked assaults upon police officers or acts of vandalism,” Prosecutor Scott Coffina wrote.
Multiple complaints had been filed with Mount Laurel police about Mathews over the last five years, but he was never arrested until the July viral video, leading some to allege the department was protecting the suspect, officials said.
Prosecutors investigated all of the prior incidents reported against the suspect, and the police response, and found no instances of favoritism, the release said.
However, prosecutors conceded that the department should have looked at the pattern of allegations against Mathews and not treated them on a case-by-case basis.
“We empathize with the residents of Essex Place who were on the receiving end of Mathews’ conduct,” Coffina said. “No one should have to endure racial harassment anywhere, but especially not in their own neighborhood and even in their own home.”
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