Black man enslaved by restaurant manager owes $ 546,000 – fr

Black man enslaved by restaurant manager owes $ 546,000 – fr

A restaurant manager who is serving jail time for effectively enslaving a black man with an intellectual disability should pay $ 546,000 in restitution, a court ruled.

Bobby Paul Edwards is already serving a 10-year sentence for forcing John Christopher Smith to work 100 unpaid hours a week under abusive conditions at a South Carolina restaurant, but an appeals court has said Smith should get double of the $ 273,000 initially granted to him.

Smith, who had an IQ of 70, began working at Conway Restaurant in 1990 at the age of 12.

He was paid until September 2009, when Edwards took over and moved Smith to an apartment attached to the restaurant, according to the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling.

Prosecutors had alleged that Edwards, who is white, subjected Smith to abuse including racial epithets and threats to make him work faster, according to The Post and Courier.

Edwards forced Smith to work 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday and 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, with no days off, according to court records.

Edwards whipped Smith, identified in court records as Jack, with a belt, beat him with saucepans and punched him.

“Once, when Jack failed to deliver fried chicken to the buffet as quickly as Edwards had requested, Edwards dipped metal tongs into hot grease and pressed them against Jack’s neck. which caused a burn that colleagues had to deal with immediately, ”the court said. mentionned.

“Jack” later said he felt like he was in jail, according to the judgment cited.

“Most of the time I didn’t feel safe, like Bobby could kill me if he wanted to,” he said, according to the minutes.

Bobby Paul Edwards, a South Carolina restaurant manager who was sentenced to be held without bail for abusing and enslaving a mentally ill employee
Bobby Paul Edwards, a restaurant manager from South Carolina who was sentenced to be held without bail for abusing and enslaving a black man with an intellectual disability.
J. Reuben Long Detention Center via AP

“I wanted so badly to get out of this place, but I couldn’t think of how I could without getting hurt.

The abuse continued until October 2014, when a relative of a restaurant employee alerted authorities and the South Carolina Department of Social Services intervened, according to the ruling.

Edwards pleaded guilty to one count of forced labor in 2019 and was initially ordered by the district court to pay $ 273,000 based on unpaid minimum wage and overtime under the Fair Standards Act.

The appeal court’s decision sent the case back to the district court and asked to recalculate the restitution based on its decision.


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