Mount Laurel, NJ man caught in racist tirade now facing nearly 2 dozen charges

Edward Mathews, 45, was charged on Tuesday with bias intimidation and harassment.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021
NJ man caught in racist tirade facing more charges
Video captured Edward Mathews' racially charged words against a neighbor on July 2, which sparked large protests outside of his home days later.

MOUNT LAUREL, New Jersey (WPVI) -- A New Jersey man who was caught on video going on a racist rant during the summer is now facing more than two dozen charges.

Edward Mathews, 45, was charged on Tuesday with bias intimidation and harassment.

Video captured Mathews' racially charged words against a neighbor on July 2, which sparked large protests outside of his home days later. He was arrested on July 5 and is now facing a total of 22 charges.

SEE ALSO: NJ man's viral racist rant leads to calls for federal hate crime investigation

The mayor of Mount Laurel, New Jersey is calling for a federal hate crime investigation following man's viral racist rant.

The new charges stem from an incident that allegedly happened a year before the racist rant. Mathews is accused of leaving a threatening note and vandalizing someone's car, the Burlington County Prosecutor's Office said.

The victim, who wanted to only be identifed as Gibbons, says he apparently wrote the note after successfully running one of her friends out of the neighborhood.

"I think he wrote on the note, something like, 'One down, few to go.' Something along the lines," recalled Gibbons.

Authorities say four people who were in the crowd during the July protest were charged on Tuesday with crimes that included discharging pepper spray at the police, spitting at officers and damage to Mathews' property.

The following four people are facing charges:

  • Tawanda M. Jones, 48, of Camden, is accused of discharging pepper spray onto the officers who were apprehending Mathews. She is facing multiple charges including possession of a weapon for an unlawful purpose.

  • Daniel A. Harris, 25, of Beverly, is accused of throwing a brick-like object through a window at Mathews' residence. He is being charged with criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.

  • Christopher D. Staples, 21, of Pemberton, is accused of throwing rocks toward officers as they were walking Mathews to the Mount Laurel police vehicle. He is charged with criminal mischief and disorderly conduct.

  • Khalil Wilson, 18, of Mount Laurel, is accused of spitting toward police officers while standing on top of a vehicle as they escorted Mathews from his home. She was charged with throwing bodily fluids at law enforcement officers and disorderly conduct.

The Mount Laurel Police Department has come under scrutiny for the way complaints were handled by officers - some complaints date back to 2016. The department was also accused of favoriting Mathews. But an independent review of the department indicates neither to be true.

According to the findings of the investigation, the department viewed the complaints raised by neighbors on a case-by-case basis, rather than taking a problem-oriented approach.

"With a broader perspective on the situation in the community, MLPD might have been able to devise an effective solution and brought relief to the residents Mathews had victimized sooner than his July 2 arrest," the prosecutor's office said.

SEE ALSO: New Jersey man caught on racist tirade says he was drunk at the time

A Mount Laurel man was taken into custody as protesters gathered outside his home over a now-viral video that shows him nonchalantly hurling the n-word at his neighbors.

The investigation also found no indication of favoritism shown toward Mathews.

"We empathize with the residents of Essex Place who were on the receiving end of Mathews' conduct," Prosecutor Coffina commented about the report released today. "No one should have to endure racial harassment anywhere, but especially not in their own neighborhood and even in their own home."

In an interview with Action News shortly before he was taken into custody, Mathews said he regretted his words and worked to explain his actions.

"I cannot apologize enough. I was drunk, I was out of line, I let my anger get the best of me," Mathews said.

All 22 charges against Mathews are pending presentation to a grand jury for possible indictment.