A white resturant manager in South Carolina is accused of enslaving a black employee. According to the Post-Courier, 52-year-old Bobby Paul Edwards of Lakeside Drive is facing a charge of forced labor for his treatment of Christopher Smith at J&J Cafeteria.
Smith had worked for 23 years at the restaurant. The allegations came to light after state social workers received a tip from someone concerned for his safety. According to prosecutors, Edwards "used force, threats of force, physical restraint and coercion" to get Smith to work. Smith, who has an intellectual disability, was said to work 18-hour shifts six days a week. He often worked without breaks and had been hit with a frying pan, burned with grease-covered tongs and beaten with butcher knives, belt buckles and fists “while being called the N-word repeatedly,” per his lawyers.
His salary was less than $3,000 a year.
Edwards' lawyer asserts his innocence. If found guilty, not only is Edwards looking at prison time—up to 20 years—but he could face paying mandatory restitution to the victim.
Eater shares that Smith was placed in protective custody by social services after being alerted to the abuse allegations.
[Photo: Horry County Sheriff's Office, Google]