December 08, 2023
A white Mount Laurel man whose racist tirade against his Black neighbors went viral three summers ago was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison.
Edward Cagney Mathews, 47, made national headlines for the scene that unfolded at the Essex Place Condominiums, where he previously lived. He pleaded guilty to charges of bias intimidation in October.
The incident on July 2, 2021 stemmed from a dispute Mathews had with the president of the condo complex's homeowners' association. When Mathews confronted the president outside his home, another neighbor stepped in to diffuse the situation. Mathews became aggressive and called his neighbors racist slurs.
A viral video of the incident showed Mathews bragging about running Black residents out of the neighborhood and that Mount Laurel police couldn't do anything about it. At one point, Mathews turned to the person filming the argument and stated his home address, shouting for people to "come see" him.
Mathews also chest-bumped his neighbor and spit at him during the incident.
A Mount Laurel police officer came out to investigate and told an agitated Mathews — still screaming at his neighbors — to go home while he spoke with the neighbor and the president of the HOA.
Mathews was later arrested and charged with bias intimidation and harassment, but he was released the same day with a summons for a future court date.
The video of the incident was posted on Facebook on the Fourth of July. It quickly went viral, amassing more than 320,000 views.
The next day, more than 100 protesters went to Mathews' home. They didn't leave until police arrested Mathews that night.
In interviews after the incident, Mathews said he was drunk when it happened and that he made a mistake.
"I cannot apologize enough. I was drunk, I was out of line, I let my anger get the best of me," Mathews told 6ABC at the time.
During the investigation, Mathews' neighbors told authorities the July episode was one of several incidents of racial intimidation and harassment against Black residents in the community.
Mathews pleaded guilty to four counts of bias intimidation and one drug charge that was filed after police found hallucinogenic mushrooms during a search of his home, which has since been sold. Mathews has been in prison since his arrest and will be credited with time served toward his sentence.