MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. (CBS) – Dozens of Mount Laurel residents made their frustrations known at a township council meeting, pressing local lawmakers on why it took authorities 72 hours to arrest Edward Mathews last week.
The Monday night meeting became a forum for a community that pointed to allegations from four years ago as reason for their anger. For some, it means the Mount Laurel Police Department needs reform.READ MORE: Thursday's Storms Break Record For Most Tornadoes In Tri-State Area In Single Day
“You need a complete overhaul of your police department here,” one person said.
Another resident came with more details of Mathews’ alleged prior conduct, saying, “They are letting this man get away with BB guns, they are letting this man get away with harassing neighbors and hate speech.”
That’s the type of harassment that went viral last week, with a video of the 45-year-old yelling at a Black neighbor and hurling racial slurs. The video prompted outrage and a protest outside the man’s home on July 5, leading police officers to arrest him 72 hours after the video hit the internet. He was originally charged on July 2.Philadelphia Announces Phase 2 Of Street Cleaning Program Running Through November
Eyewitness News spoke with Police Chief Stephen Riedener, who said Mathews’ prior run-ins with authorities weren’t severe enough to result in an arrest.
One resident, Jasmine Sizenski, says she reported Mathews multiple times, including when he reportedly kicked her door in. She described the police department’s approach as a “personal vendetta.”
“When it’s a minority, they can overlook the protocol,” she said in part to CBS3.
Mathews is currently in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly on multiple charges, including harassment, bias crime, and stalking.
A hearing for Mathews was slated for Tuesday but is expected to be postponed.MORE NEWS: Body Found In Northeast Philadelphia Positively Identified As Missing Woman Casey Johnston: Sources
CBS3’s Wakisha Bailey reports.