MOUNT LAUREL, N.J. - Lots of questions as people continue to digest the video of a Mount Laurel man, caught on camera in the middle of a racist rant.
People are asking the township’s police chief why he didn’t act sooner, amid reports the suspect has a history of engaging in racist behavior.
"I think a lot of their criticism is misplaced," Mount Laurel Police Chief Steve Riedener stated.
Chief Riedener responded to claims made at Monday’s township meeting that his police department hasn’t done enough to protect the community from Edward Cagney Mathews. They say he has been terrorizing them for years.
"You guys allowed him to go rogue because of inaction," resident Aaliyah Robinson stated at the meeting.
Chief Riedener says that’s not true. Police have been actively involved in multiple cases involving Mathews. Some of them have been dismissed by the courts. And, Riedener says not everyone understands how the justice system works.
"Investigations take time, but also, we can’t just bring charges without evidence," Chief Riedener explained.
The chief says more evidence is coming to light after investigators executed a search warrant on Mathews’ home. Police are continuing to keep a presence in the neighborhood to make sure the community is safe.
Also speaking out, Etchu Tambe, the 25-year-old man on the receiving end of Mathews’ now-viral racist verbal assault. Tambe says he wants the justice system to come down hard on Mathews, to send a clear message.
"Setting an example for this one person will go a long way to kind of give a warning to others who might be emboldened by this," Tambe explained.
Tambe says he’s in the Air Force and is a very private person. He doesn’t want his face shown in one-on-one interviews, but did discuss the admirable restraint he showed in the video.
"The military does help, knowing you represent something more than just being a human being," Tambe credited. "It helps you. Helps a lot."
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