MOUNT LAUREL, New Jersey (WABC) -- A white man at the center of a community protest in New Jersey, who was seen in video footage pushing a Black neighbor with his chest and using racist slurs, has been arrested.
Edward C. Mathews, 45, was taken into custody Monday evening after protesters gathered outside of his Mount Laurel home for multiple hours.
Water bottles and ice were hurled at him -- and police officers -- as he was brought outside.
"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."
Mathews will remain behind bars on assault charges until he is arraigned, which is expected sometime in the next few days.
Mathews is also charged with bias intimidation stemming from the now-viral video of him nonchalantly hurling the N-word multiple times at his neighbors.
Ring camera video captured the moments before viral encounter, showing Mathews knocking on the door of his neighbors, an interracial senior citizen couple, demanding the husband come out and speak with him.
"I have every right to be here," Mathews is heard saying. "Get your husband."
The situation escalated when another neighbor interceded on that couple's behalf, and most of the viral Facebook video is too graphic to show.
"This is not Africa, or (inaudible) or wherever the (expletive) you were," Mathews is heard saying.
The other man in the video replied, "I was born in America, and I don't give an (expletive) about you."
Sister station Action News in Philadelphia spoke with Mathews via Zoom before he was taken into custody.
"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."
The dispute, according to neighbors, stemmed from months of issues with the development's HOA board.
Before the viral video ends, Mathews gave out his address, seemingly encouraging protesters -- who arrived on cue.
"We're not just going to let him harass people, especially Black people within this community or any community," said protester John Clayton, of Cinnaminson.
Earlier in the day, Mathews came out to address the crowd but was ushered back inside the home.
Police confirm they've received complaints about Mathews in the past. A woman who wanted to remain anonymous said Mathews vandalized her home right before that now-viral encounter with her neighbor.
"Sad because it should not be that many times," she said. "If the justice system had done their work earlier...he would not be here at this point."
Jazmyn Suszynski and her mother Aliya Robinson also showed up to protest. They claimed they were also victimized by Mathews in years past.
"I tried," Robinson said. "We have tried to get justice, and if we got justice, this wouldn't be happening now."
The Mount Laurel Police Department released a statement on Facebook denouncing the incident.
"The Mount Laurel Police Department does not tolerate hate or bias intimidation in any form," it read. "This type of behavior is totally unacceptable. We can assure our residents that incidents like this are thoroughly investigated and that those who commit such offenses will be held accountable for their actions."
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