Mount Laurel, NJ, man filmed using racial slurs remains jailed
A white man caught on video shouting racist slurs against his black neighbors in Mount Laurel and later arrested on harassment charges and more than a dozen other charges will remain in jail pending trial, a judge said on Wednesday.
Edward C. Mathews, 45, who stood silently from Burlington County Jail during a remote detention hearing, poses a “high risk of danger to the community,” the Superior Court judge said Wednesday Terrence Cook.
Wednesday’s hearing marked the first time Mathews has appeared in court on charges stemming from interactions in early July with his neighbors at their housing complex in Mount Laurel.
He was standing in a county jail meeting room during the proceedings, dressed in orange with his arms behind him.
Prosecutors charged Mathews with 14 counts, including harassment, stalking and weapons.
Assistant District Attorney Jamie Hutchinson said on Wednesday Mathews began harassing members of the owners association board of directors, who were all colored, more than a year ago, including breaking the windows of the vehicle of a neighbor with a stone and coating their car with feces.
Hutchinson also said the FBI determined that the handwriting on a note to a neighbor matched that of Mathews.
The note came amid Mathews’ disagreement with black homeowners association board members and after a former board member he lobbied moved out, according to Hutchinson.
The note said “there was only one left to go,” the prosecutor said.
Mathews’ attorney Anthony Rizzo objected to evidence obtained under an extreme risk protection order, saying it was flawed because Mathews was safe at the time as he was already in prison.
He also argued that prosecutors’ inclusion of 1990s and early 2000s medical records and criminal histories was too remote to consider.
The case made headlines when a video showing Mathews using racist slurs against his black neighbors appeared online.
In the video, Mathews is seen urging people watching to come to his house.
This led, according to authorities, to more than 100 protesters, some of whom waved Black Lives Matter flags.
Police indictment documents say the confrontation occurred after Mathews knocked on his neighbors’ door demanding to see the husband, who is black. His wife, who is white, called the police and another neighbor ran into Mathews on the front steps and the driveway to the neighbors’ house to help them deal with Mathews.
This was the second call police received on Friday about Mathews, according to the documents.
A black woman from the neighborhood called police earlier saying Mathews was harassing her, approaching her front door and shouting racial slurs, prosecutors said. She had previously told police she suspected Mathews of “criminal mischief” involving his car.
Doorbell camera captures Mathews bringing his dogs into his front yard, repeating a racial insult and squeezing his hips in vulgar fashion after police respond and speak to him, prosecutors said.
Hutchinson said on Wednesday Mathews behaved the same with another neighbor who later left the housing complex, which he hinted in videos posted online.
The judge’s ruling ran counter to a computer-generated assessment that indicated Mathews could be released from prison, but Cook said he also took into consideration that Mathews had 20 previous convictions.
He also said he took other factors into account, including “derogatory racist language”.
The next hearing date is set for August.
The first video taken of Mathews confronting neighbors, using racial slurs, was extremely vulgar and profane.
6ABC Philadelphia was only able to use short excerpts in a previous report, as seen below.
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