BURLINGTON COUNTY, N.J. (CBS) — The July arrest of a Mount Laurel man after a viral racist rant has local NAACP chapters asking residents about their experience with police.
Edward Cagney Mathews, 45, was arrested on bias harassment following the video, which allegedly showed him yelling racial slurs and spitting on one of his neighbors.READ MORE: Woman Killed After Shooting Inside Kensington Home, Police Say
The hate behavior that put Mathews inside the Burlington County Detention Center is the same behaviors the local NAACP says went unaddressed for years. The lack of response led to residents protesting outside Mathews’ home ahead of his arrest. Neighbors told CBS3 following the arrest his behavior was like this for a long time.
From authorities, neighbors recalled crickets. That’s something leaders say must change.
“They went to the police, they filed the reports and for three years nothing happened to this person,” Marcus Sibley, the president of the Southern Burlington County NJ NAACP, said.
The arrest, and lack of action in the years before, prompted Sibley’s chapter, the Willingboro and Delaware Valley chapters of the NAACP to create an anonymous survey. The online form is supposed to help leaders discover any gaps in the reporting of race-based crimes and police policies.READ MORE: Cars Towed, Scrapped In Wilmington Leads To Federal Lawsuit
The purpose of the forms is supposed to gather data, not to create more division.
“We are pro-police, we’re not just pro-bad policing,” Sibley said.
Leaders want to see if Burlington County residents feel comfortable reporting incidents directly to an officer, whether it’s a harassment claim or a mental health issue. The data will be shared with police at the end of the month.
Not all the responses have the be bad — that’s something Sibley says positive experiences are also encouraged.
“We’re not saying only send in bad experiences, we want good experiences too,” he said. “We just want to have an accurate account.”MORE NEWS: Philadelphia Parking Authority Launching Pilot Program Targeting Illegally Parked Cars In Bike, Bus Lanes
To participate in the survey, click here.