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White Man Sentenced To 8 Years For Racial Harassment Of Black Neighbors In New Jersey

Matthews was caught on camera calling his Black neighbors a number of racial epithets, including the N-word.

Edward C. Matthews, a white New Jersey man who had a history of racist conduct toward his Black neighbors, was sentenced to eight years in prison on Dec. 8. As NBC News reported, the 47-year-old Matthews will be required to serve at least half his sentence before he is eligible for parole in connection with a 2021 incident that Matthews was caught on camera calling his Black neighbors several racial epithets, including the N-word. 

In October, Matthews pleaded guilty to four counts of bias intimidation and possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute. Burlington County Prosecutor LaChia L. Bradshaw released a statement detailing the county’s intent in bringing the charges against Matthews, saying, “Our office is committed to combating bias crimes and sending a clear message that such actions will not be tolerated in our community,” Bradshaw said. “Nobody should have to endure what these victims experienced.”

On the day Matthews engaged in his racist tirade against his neighbors, a resident in the area filed a harassment complaint against him. Later, authorities told NBC News they received another complaint about a man who needed to be removed from a neighborhood. Once officers arrived on the scene, they found Matthews “using racial slurs while engaged in a verbal altercation with four residents.” Once officers searched Matthews’s home, they found shrooms, or psilocin mushrooms, which are known to have a hallucinogenic effect on those who use them. 

Matthews also reportedly had a habit of harassing and/or terrorizing his Black neighbors, including an instance where he left a threatening note on a vehicle. He had also been accused of stalking neighbors and smearing feces on their windows, as well as damaging their cars. Matthews invoked religious language during his court appearance, apologizing for his behavior before telling the court, “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future,” Matthews said. “I want to commit to rebuild the community.” Matthews also stated he was remorseful for “my insensitive and disrespectful words in the past.”

Matthews, who has been in custody ever since his arrest, will have that time credited to his sentence and, according to NBC News, will be eligible for parole once he has served 16 months in prison. 

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