Burlington prosecutor says arrests likely after mob pelts officers during the arrest of alleged racist

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MOUNT LAUREL, NJ – Burlington County Prosecutor Scott Coffina today condemned an angry mob who attacked police officers while they escorted alleged racist Edward Mathews from his home on Monday. As officers escorted him out of the home and into a police vehicle, they were assaulted with bottles, drinks and other items thrown by an unruly mob that gathered in the neighborhood to protest Mathews’ actions.

Now, charges could be coming against those who engaged in the violence against police.

“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. We will be reviewing evidence from the scene and will hold accountable anyone who committed criminal acts yesterday,” Coffina said.

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Edward C. Mathews, 45, of the 3600 block of Gramercy Way in Mount Laurel, was taken into custody yesterday evening at his residence and is presently in the Burlington County Jail in Mount Holly. He was scheduled for a first appearance today in Superior Court. The Prosecutor’s Office has moved to detain him, and he will be held pending a detention hearing, likely on Friday, July 9.


Statement from Burlington County Prosecutor Scott A. Coffina Regarding Bias Crime in Mount Laurel:

“It is difficult to overstate how vile and despicable the conduct by this defendant towards his neighbors was on Friday night. No one should ever have to deal with such hatred thrown in their face anywhere, but especially on their own doorstep. Once again, I want to commend the victims for showing incredible restraint in the midst of this unprovoked rant by the defendant.

We recognize the justifiable outrage of the community – of ALL members of the community – at the defendant’s conduct, and vow to see this prosecution through so that justice is done. That said, 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. We will be reviewing evidence from the scene and will hold accountable anyone who committed criminal acts yesterday.We appreciate those members of the community who came forward with information and video evidence to support the charges we brought against the defendant over the weekend. We are all in this together, and we urge anyone with information or evidence of prior incidents involving this defendant to come forward and present it to Mount Laurel Police Department or our Office.

We also vow to work with our elected officials, the Mount Laurel Police Department, community leaders, and members of the public to help the community heal and move past this incident. The law enforcement community will do everything within our power to make all our residents, no matter their background, feel safe and welcome in their homes, and wherever they work, play or go to school in Burlington County.”

Scott Coffina – Burlington County Prosecutor

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Information can be submitted to the Burlington County Prosecutor’s Office at tips@co.burlington.nj.us, to Mount Laurel Police Department at tips@mountlaurelpd.org, or by calling the Mount Laurel Police Department’s Confidential Tip Line at 856-234-1414, extension 1599.