MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. (CBS) — A South Jersey man accused of harassing his Black neighbors woke up behind bars Tuesday. Hundreds of protesters gathered outside of his home Monday afternoon after video of a racist rant went viral.
“To me personally, getting arrested is a big thing. He’s being held accountable because it’s unfair to Black people that we have to put up with it,” Mount Laurel resident Thomas Peterson said.READ MORE: EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Center City Hit-And-Run Leaves Woman In Critical Condition, Police Say
Neighbors reacted to 45-year-old Edward Cagney Mathews being arrested Monday night. He is now charged with assault, harassment and bias intimidation.
“It’s intolerable. It’s egregious,” Barbara Johnson said.
Mount Laurel police surrounded his home on Gramercy Way through the night. His windows were busted out and garbage was thrown onto his front lawn.
His arrest came during a protest attended by hundreds of people.
Neighbors say they’ve complained about Mathews for years. But he wasn’t arrested until the now-viral video was posted to social media.READ MORE: 'This Is What We Do In A Small Town': Mullica Hill Residents Continue Recovery Efforts Weeks After Tornado
In it, Mathews is heard likening a Black man to a wild animal. And in another video, he is heard using the N-word.
“He’s just opened his mouth and said what he’s been thinking, feeling and living,” Johnson said.
“It’s truly outrageous and I totally understand why the protesters were here today. They had seen videos that weren’t available to us,” Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina said.
But some neighbors say it went far beyond verbal altercations.
“He used a BB gun to shoot their windows out, smeared dog feces all over their cars. He’s put nails in their tire rims,” one neighbor said.
Mathews will remain in jail until his first court appearance later this week.MORE NEWS: New Jersey Man Credits Keeping Mind Active As He Celebrates 105th Birthday
Coffina released a statement following the incident, reading in part: “It is difficult to overstate how vile and despicable the conduct by this defendant toward his neighbors was on Friday night. We recognize the justifiable outrage of the community… and vow to see this prosecution through so that justice is done.”