Prosecutor: Mt. Laurel, NJ, Man Jailed for Racist Rant Facing More Charges
Authorities say a man from Mt. Laurel who was arrested following a racist rant in his neighborhood earlier this year that was caught on video is now facing more charges.
Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina says 45-year-old Edward Mathews has now been charged with fourth-degree bias intimidation and harassment after authorities say he left a threatening note on one of his victim’s cars earlier this year and also vandalized the victim’s vehicle.
Coffina's office says Mathews now faces 22 separate charges, "including Bias Intimidation, Harassment, Criminal Mischief, Possession of a Weapon (Slingshot) For an Unlawful Purpose, Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance, Possession of a Controlled Dangerous Substance with Intent to Distribute, Stalking, Certain Persons Not to Have Weapons, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia," following his arrest in July.
Coffina says the newest charges against Mathews were filed after a handwriting analysis by the FBI revealed that a threatening note left on a neighbor’s vehicle in January had been written by Mathews. Feces also had been smeared on the vehicle.
This past summer, a video showing the "racially-charged words and actions of Mathews against his neighbors" went viral on social media and resulted in a protest outside of his home.
Mount Laurel police officers at the scene had to deal with a large crowd as they arrested Mathews. On Tuesday, four people that were in that crowd were charged with alleged crimes that included discharging pepper spray at cops and Mathews, damaging property, and spitting at officers. Those charged include the following people:
- Tawanda M. Jones, 48, of Camden - accused of discharging pepper spray onto the officers who were apprehending Mathews. She was charged with Possession of a Weapon for an Unlawful Purpose (Third Degree), Unlawful Possession of a Weapon (Fourth Degree), Aggravated Assault on a Police Officer (Fourth Degree), Simple Assault (Disorderly Persons Offense), and Disorderly Conduct (Petty Disorderly Persons Offense).
- Daniel A. Harris, 25, of Beverly - accused of throwing a brick-like object through a window at Mathews’ residence just after he was taken into custody. He was charged with Criminal Mischief (Fourth Degree) and Disorderly Conduct (Petty Disorderly Persons Offense).
- Christopher D. Staples, 21, of Pemberton - accused of throwing rocks toward officers as they were walking the defendant to the Mount Laurel police vehicle. The rocks struck the vehicle, causing nearly $600 in damage. He was charged with Criminal Mischief (Fourth Degree) and Disorderly Conduct (Petty Disorderly Persons Offense).
- Khalil Wilson, 18, of Mount Laurel - accused of spitting toward police officers while standing on top of a vehicle as they escorted Mathews from his home. He was charged with Throwing Bodily Fluids at Law Enforcement Officers (Fourth Degree) and Disorderly Conduct (Petty Disorderly Persons Offense).
"The outrage sparked by Mathews’ conduct on the viral video does not give permission to anyone to commit unprovoked assaults upon police officers or acts of vandalism," Coffina said in a press release. "These were blatant crimes, caught on video, and the individuals responsible must be held accountable, regardless of whether they were committed in the midst of a protest or at any other time."
Mathews was served with the newest charges in the Burlington County Jail where he has been held since his arrest.
The public is reminded that charges are accusations and all persons are considered innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.