South Carolina Man Beat Disabled Black Employee, Made Him Work 100 Hours A Week For Years
A white manager could face up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to beating and verbally abusing an intellectually disabled black cook who worked in his restaurant.
Bobby Paul Edwards, 53, pleaded guilty to one count of forced labor and said that he had used violence, threats, isolation, and intimidation against John Christopher Smith, according to the New York Times. From 2009 to 2014, Edwards admitted that he beat Smith “with a belt, punched him, hit him with pots and pans and burned Mr. Smith’s bare neck with hot tongs.”
The report said that Edwards also forced Smith to work over 100 hours a week without pay for about five years. The abuse took place while Smith was employed at J&J Cafeteria in Conway, South Carolina. Smith, who’s around 40 years old, had been working there since he was 12 and feared he would lose his job.
In October 2014, authorities removed Smith from the restaurant after receiving complaints about the abuse.
Edwards could face up to 20 years in prison when he is sentenced. Along with that, he also faces a possible fine of up to $250,000 and mandatory restitution to Smith.
“Human trafficking through forced labor can happen on farms, in homes, and as today’s case shows — in public places, such as restaurants,” John Gore, acting assistant attorney general, said. “Edwards abused an African-American man with intellectual disabilities by coercing him to work long hours in a restaurant without pay.”
Source: New York Times