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

A video that shows him nonchalantly hurling the n-word multiple times at his neighbors.
MOUNT LAUREL, New Jersey (WPVI) -- The man at the center of a community protest in Mount Laurel, New Jersey - sparked by his racist rant toward a neighbor that was caught on video - will likely stay in police custody for the next few days.

Edward Mathews, 45, appeared in court on Tuesday for his first appearance but will remain behind bars at least until his detention hearing later this week.


In a now-viral video, Mathews is heard calling neighbors racial slurs.

In an interview with Action News shortly before he was taken into custody on Monday, 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.

Mathews has been charged with six offenses related to the viral video as well as a separate incident with another female neighbor. In that one, he's accused of being caught on video using slurs and performing a "lewd motion while laughing."

In total, Mathews was charged with three hate crimes, two charges for harassment, and one charge for trespassing.

EMBED More News Videos

Tensions and tempers flared Monday along Gramercy Way in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.



Back at his home, which had been vandalized by protesters, a woman who identified herself as Mathew's ex-wife accused the media of blowing things out of proportion, but offered no other comment.

Protestors have now taken some of their frustrations to the Mount Laurel Police department.

A small group gathered outside the agency, angered by the response of the initial officer who encountered Mathews in the first video.

"I think that if we never had showed up that wouldn't have happened. I think Edward would still be sitting comfortably in his home today had the community had not actually showed up and taken action," said Shante Smith with Black Lives Matter New Jersey.

Protestors are calling for an outside investigation of the police department as well as anti-oppression training.

RELATED: NJ man's viral racist rant leads to calls for federal hate crime investigation
EMBED More News Videos

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



TIRADE CAUGHT ON VIDEO

Ring camera video shows the moments before the viral video. It shows Mathews knocking on the door of his neighbors - an interracial senior citizen couple - demanding the husband come out and speak with him.

"I have every right to be here. Get your husband," Mathews is heard saying.

The situation escalated when another neighbor interceded on that couple's behalf. Most of the viral Facebook video, recorded back on Friday, is too graphic to play.

"This is not Africa, or (inaudible) or wherever the (expletive) you were," Mathews is heard to say.

The other man in the video replied, "I was born in America, and I don't give an (expletive) about you."

During his interview with Action News, Mathews asked for forgiveness.

"There is nothing I'm going to be able to say that's going to justify me using the words that I used," he said. "Whatever I have to do to make it up to the community - and the world at this point, seeing how big it is - understand that I made a mistake, allow me the ability to move forward, just like we all deserve," said Mathews.

EMBED More News Videos

Tensions and tempers flared Monday along Gramercy Way in Mount Laurel, New Jersey.



The dispute, according to neighbors, stemmed from months of issues with the development's HOA board.

Before the viral video ends Mathews gave out his address, seemingly encouraging protesters, who arrived in force on Monday.

A warrant dated Monday and other charging documents show at least two neighbors called police to report Mathews on Friday.

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.

CHARGES FOR SOME PROTESTERS POSSIBLE

Action News was there as Mathews was led from his home by police officers on Monday evening.

Water bottles and ice were hurled at Mathews, and the police officers, as he was brought outside. They had to go through a large crowd of protesters outside Mathews' home to get to a waiting police vehicle.

"It was a difficult situation to extract him," said Mt. Laurel Police Chief Steve Riedner. "Unfortunately some in the crowd made it more dangerous for everybody."

Police say 10 to 15 officers were hit by peppers spray as they were taking Mathews into custody. Police are investigating if protesters who threw objects toward officers and Mathews as they arrested him committed any crimes, Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report
Copyright © 2021 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.