Mount Laurel, NJ racist-attack protesters may also face charges
MOUNT LAUREL — Prosecutors say they will consider charges against those who gathered in front of the home of a man who used racist slurs against his neighbors.
Demonstrators were seen throwing water bottles at police and clobbering the man with a Black Lives Matter flag as he was arrested by police on Monday.
Edward C. Matthews had been captured on video Friday night shouting racial slurs at his neighbors, according to Mount Laurel police who charged him with harassment and bias intimidation. [You can watch the video at this link. WARNING: It is not censored for vulgar and profane language.]
Police did not initially arrest him, however.
According to a complaint, Matthews called neighbor Etchu Tambe a "monkey" and used the N-word, bumped his chest and appeared to spit at him.
On Monday evening, prosecutors said that they were bringing new charges against Mathews based on additional video footage.
Matthews was charged with harassment with purpose to intimidate because of race, color, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, national origin or ethnicity.
In an interview conducted with 6ABC Action News before his arrest, Matthews said he was drunk and the time and asked for forgiveness.
"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," the 6ABC report quoted him as saying.
Large crowds gathered outside Matthews' home for hours in the afternoon before he was arrested on the new charges.
Officers surrounding Matthews as they escorted him to a police vehicle about 7:30 p.m. were hit by water bottles and pepper spray, according to 6 ABC Action News coverage of his arrest.
Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina called Matthew's behavior "vile and despicable." He also commended neighbors for showing restraint against Matthews but was critical of the crowd.
"It was unfortunate that some participants in yesterday’s protest resorted to violence and the destruction of property, including that of the defendant’s neighbors, as officers tried to escort the defendant from his home to the waiting patrol car," Coffina said. "We will be reviewing evidence from the scene and will hold accountable anyone who committed criminal acts yesterday."
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