Man receives lengthy prison sentence for racist rant and assault

MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. — A white New Jersey man, Edward Cagney Mathews, was sentenced to a substantial prison term on Friday for his racially charged viral rant and assault on his black neighbors. Mathews, 47, will serve four years of an eight-year sentence after pleading guilty to four counts of bias intimidation and possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute. The sentencing took place in Burlington County Superior Court.

In his tearful statement to the court, Mathews expressed remorse for his “insensitive and disrespectful words” and vowed to rebuild the community.

The incident unfolded in July 2021 when Mathews unleashed a tirade of racial slurs, referring to his black neighbor as a “monkey” and yelling racial slurs while physically confronting and spitting on him. He also put feces on their property and shot their cars with BB pellets before his arrest. After being captured on video, the altercation quickly went viral, leading to widespread condemnation and protests outside Mathews’ home.

Investigations revealed that Mathews had a history of racially motivated harassment towards his black neighbors, with multiple complaints filed over the course of five years prior to his arrest. He engaged in a range of abusive behaviors, including the use of racial slurs, property damage, and sending threatening emails and letters. Mathews claimed his actions were fueled by alcohol, a defense substantiated by his ex-wife, Shannon Schwartzhoff. His ex-wife also told the New York Post that he was “He was drunk,” adding, “He has been having a lot of problems in the neighborhood with the Home Owners’ Association. There’s been some money gone missing, and he is trying to stop that.”

During his sentencing, Mathews was credited for the 886 days he had already served in custody. Upon completing 16 months of his sentence, he will be eligible for parole. Additionally, he was ordered to pay $4,408 in restitution and will be required to undergo racial sensitivity training while in prison. Mathews’ former neighbor Denise Brown expressed the ongoing impact of his actions, stating, “The actions of what he did will forever stay a nightmare of the fear and anxiety he bestowed upon me.”