A Black cafeteria worker in South Carolina reported being abused and enslaved by his White manager. Christopher Smith was abused by 52-year-old Bobby Paul Edwards for five years, reports the Post and Courier. On Wednesday, Edwards was arrested on charges of forced felony labor.
Smith, who is mentally disabled, worked at J&J Cafeteria as a buffet cook. His lawyers claim he was “hit was 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.”
He also claims Edwards was forced to work from the early morning to late at night and received minimal, if any, pay. The Post and Courier reports he was paid less than $3,000 a year.
After someone reported Edwards’ behavior to social workers, the state investigated. Civil attorneys first filed a suit against Edwards and his brother, who co-owns the restaurant, in 2015. He could face up to 20 years in prison for forced labor felony if convicted.