A white New Jersey man, who was arrested on Monday after he was caught on video hurling racial slurs at his neighbor during an altercation, is claiming he’s not a racist and he was under the influence of alcohol.
In the video of the incident which has since gone viral after it was shared on social media, Edward Cagney Mathews is seen engaged in an argument with a Black man outside a home. During the confrontation, Matthews is heard repeatedly calling the Black man a “monkey” and a “n***er.”
And though the Black man is heard repeatedly telling Matthews, 48, to leave the property, he refuses to go and claims he’s on “common ground.” “This is not Africa or (inaudible) or wherever the f**k you were,” Matthews is heard telling the Black man, to which he responds: “I was born in America and I don’t five a f**k about you.”
According to 6 ABC, the confrontation happened outside the home of an interracial couple. Neighbors told the news outlet the altercation was over issues pertaining to the development’s Home Owners Association board.
Matthews was initially arrested on Friday on charges of bias intimidation and harassment after neighbors reported him to the police, according to NBC10. He was released later that night after he was issued a summons. However, he was re-arrested on Monday.
But prior to his arrest, Matthews, in the video, gave out his residential address and appeared to taunt protesters to come through – which they actually did on Monday. As he was whisked outside his home by officers, some protesters who had swarmed around his property were seen throwing objects at Matthews and the officers. Police also said between 10 and 15 officers were pepper-sprayed during the arrest.
“It was a difficult situation to extract him,” Mt. Laurel Police Chief Steve Riedner said. “Unfortunately some in the crowd made it more dangerous for everybody.”
In an interview with 6 ABC in the aftermath of the incident, Matthews admitted he made a mistake and asked for forgiveness. “There is nothing I’m going to be able to say that’s going to justify me using the words that I used,” he said. “Whatever I have to do to make it up to the community – and the world at this point, seeing how big it is – understand that I made a mistake, allow me the ability to move forward, just like we all deserve.”
Matthews similarly rendered an apology for his actions during an interview with NBC10 and claimed he’s not a racist. “I’ve never been a racist,” he said. “I’ve made mistakes. Said racial slurs out of anger or being drunk. I may not be able to relate to communities of color but I am not a racist and I have the upmost respect for us as a community.”
He added: “I did not mean this. It was a lapse of judgment at a moment at my weakest point and my anger got the best of me.”
Matthews is currently being held in custody. He faces three hate crime charges as well as two harassment charges and a charge for trespassing.