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N.J. man sentenced to 8 years in prison after video showed him harassing Black neighbors with racial slurs

Edward C. Mathews, 47, had a pattern of terrorizing his Black neighbors, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office said.
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A white New Jersey man who was captured in a viral video in 2021 harassing his Black neighbors and hurling racial slurs was sentenced Friday to eight years in prison.

Edward C. Mathews, 47, was ordered to serve at least four years before he is eligible for parole, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

In October, he pleaded guilty to four counts of bias intimidation and possession of a controlled dangerous substance with intent to distribute. The charges stem from a 2021 incident in which footage showed him repeatedly calling his neighbors the N-word and another offensive slur outside a home in Mount Laurel.

“Our office is committed to combatting bias crimes and sending a clear message that such actions will not be tolerated in our community,” Burlington County Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw said in a statement Friday. “Nobody should have to endure what these victims experienced.”

A crowd forms in front of the house of Edward Mathews, which is blocked by police.
Protesters gather outside the home of Edward Mathews in Mount Laurel, N.J. in 2021.Jim Walsh / Courier-Post via USA TODAY NETWORK

One resident in the area filed a harassment complaint against Mathews with the Mount Laurel Police Department on July 2, 2021, the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office said in a news release. That same day, police received a report about a man who needed to be removed from the area.

When officers arrived, they found Mathews “using racial slurs while engaged in a verbal altercation with four residents,” prosecutors said. During a search of Mathews’ home, police found numerous psilocin mushrooms, which are known for their hallucinogenic effect, according to prosecutors.

Bradshaw said Mathews had a pattern of terrorizing his Black neighbors, including a time when he allegedly left a threatening note on one of their vehicles. He was also accused of stalking, smearing feces on his neighbors’ windows and damaging their cars, NBC Philadelphia reported.

He apologized for his behavior during his sentencing.

“Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future,” he told the judge, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I want to commit to rebuild the community.”

He said he accepted responsibility and said he was sorry for “my insensitive and disrespectful words in the past.”

Mathews, who has been in custody since his arrest, will get credit for the time he’s already served and will be eligible for parole in about 16 months, according to the Inquirer.