The apparent white supremacist at the center of a viral video in which he repeatedly calls his Black neighbor in south New Jersey the N-word and other racial slurs while trying to physically intimidate him won’t own up to his racism despite clear evidence to the contrary.
Edward Cagney Mathews was arrested on Monday evening — more than two days after he attacked his neighbor on Friday with racial epithets — and said in an interview afterward that he just happened to have too much to drink and offered an apology to the unidentified Black man he was caught on video racially harassing for no apparent reason other than the color of his skin.
“I certainly wasn’t expecting an encounter like that and certainly wasn’t expecting to disrespect anybody,” Mathews told the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Let me be clear: That is no excuse for what I said, but I lost my temper.”
At its face value, the video is extremely jarring. Mathews, 45, is shown confronting his neighbor and menacing him with racial slurs, at one point calling him a “monkey” and daring any other neighbor to “come see me” while blurting out his address at the condominium complex where they live.
Discretion is advised while watching the video.
But the next part was even more concerning when the police arrived and Mathews, who appeared completely out of control, referred to the officer on a first name basis and orders him to interrogate the Black neighbor. The cop obliges, simply telling Mathews, “cut it out.”
The suburban Philadelphia community in Mt Laurel Township immediately rallied and staged protests outside of Mathews’ home for two days straight until he was arrested on Monday. The arrest, which was also recorded on video, seemed more like a police escort than law enforcement taking a suspected white supremacist criminal into custody for racist acts committed against an innocent Black person.
The community responded by showering Mathews and the police with what appeared to be pieces of trash and some kind of liquid before another protester carrying a Black liberation flag used it to hit Mathews on the head and back as he walked past.
Watch the scene below.
Mathews was only charged with bias intimidation and harassment but could face additional charges for possibly spitting on his Black neighbor. Amazingly, Mathews avoided — at least immediately — being charged for assault despite the local district attorney saying that is exactly what happened. There was no mention of any pending hate crime charges.
Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina credited the neighbor with showing “incredible restraint with someone spewing awful, vile things in his face and assaulting him.”
The head of the local NAACP chapter said Mathews has been terrorizing his Black neighbors for at least the past three years and called for more charges to be filed.
“We’ve seen people get shot for less. And (Mathews) not only used one of the most demeaning terms you can give to a Black person, he said it with no hesitation, but he also said it once the police officer came and cursed at the police officer,” Southern Burlington NAACP President Marcus Sibley told NJ.com.
The familiarity displayed between Mathews and the first officer on the scene on Friday also suggests a level of intimacy between the two that is indicative of the larger issue of white supremacist sympathy in law enforcement.
“They had a conversation with him like it was nothing,” one woman named Tia Brown said about the police interaction with Mathews. “No one should have to deal with a neighbor like that.”