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Black man kept as slave in white man’s South Carolina restaurant for 5 years

By Mason White 12:46 PM October 13, 2017
Bobby Paul Edwards
Bobby Paul Edwards
By: Alexis Bell

(Scroll down for video) A white man who manages a restaurant, was accused of keeping a black man as a slave for many years, according to police in South Carolina.

The Department of Justice said that an indictment was unsealed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina, charging Bobby Paul Edwards, 52, of Conway, with one count of forced labor.

According to the indictment, over a five-year period, Edwards used force, threats of force, physical restraint, and coercion, among other means, to compel the victim, who has an intellectual disability, to work as the buffet cook of J&J Cafeteria.

Edwards managed the restaurant at the time of the alleged incidents.

If convicted of forced labor, the defendant faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and mandatory restitution.

According to a lawsuit filed on behalf of the victim, John Christopher Smith, 39, he started working at the restaurant as a waiter and eventually rose to the position of buffet cook.

At first, Smith loved his job and was treated nicely, but when Edwards became the manager, the buffet cook started suffering extreme abuse.

Smith claimed that Edwards regularly beat him with belts and burned him with tongs.

Edwards also hit the victim with a frying pan and often used racial slurs.

Smith was allegedly paid as little as $3,000 per year despite working 18-hours per day shifts.