Activists want investigation into police response to Mt. Laurel man's racist rant

A group of about a dozen protesters gathered outside the Mount Laurel Police Department Tuesday afternoon.

News 12 Staff

Jul 6, 2021, 10:15 AM

Updated 1,018 days ago

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A group of about a dozen protesters gathered outside the Mount Laurel Police Department Tuesday afternoon to demand further action from the department and Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office following the arrest of a white man accused of harassing his Black neighbors.
Edward Cagney Mathews, 45, is facing harassment and bias intimidation charges stemming from a July 2 incident that was caught on video and posted on social media. The video shows Mathews in a verbal altercation with his neighbors, in which he is heard using various racial slurs against them.
The incident drew a large protest outside of Mathews’ home Monday afternoon. He was eventually taken into custody, as the crowd threw bottles in his direction and used pepper spray as the officers took him into custody.
Edward Cagney Mathews
Activists are now calling for further investigation into the Mount Laurel Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit, as well as the officer who originally responded to the July 2 incident.
“We shouldn’t have gotten to that point. He should have been arrested when the incident originally occurred. We need to call what it actually is in New Jersey – it’s a hate crime,’ says Shanta Smith, of Mount Laurel.
The group says that it goes beyond the officer seen in the video.
"We also want the Mount Laurel Police Department investigated because being out there yesterday, we heard a number of testimonies from a number of residents that live in that particular complex and still continue to live in Mount Laurel about the treatment of Mount Laurel PD. The officer that sat idle, we want him terminated,” says Gary Frazier, of Camden.
People who lived in the complex were out on Tuesday cleaning the mess that was left behind after the protest. Many tell News 12 New Jersey that they hope that the incident sparks change.
“People have to change. People are so full of hatred. It is not only him, there’s other people who are so full of hatred. That’s a key thing,” says neighbor Willie Lanier.
Mathews will remain in jail until a court appearance later this week.
News 12 New Jersey reached out to the Mount Laurel Police Department for comment about the investigation but did not hear back.


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