A white supremacist has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after enslaving an intellectually disabled black man, forcing him to work “for more than 100 hours a week for no pay” at a restaurant he managed.
NBC News reports:
A South Carolina restaurant owner was sentenced to 10 years in prison for enslaving, physically beating and threatening a black employee with intellectual disabilities.
Bobby Paul Edwards, who is white, for five years “used violence and other coercive means” to make the victim, John Christopher Smith, work at Edwards’ restaurant for more than 100 hours a week without pay.
In a press release the U.S. Department of Justice reports:
U.S. District Court Judge R. Bryan Harwell sentenced defendant Bobby Paul Edwards, 54, of Conway, South Carolina, to 10 years in prison and ordered him to pay $272,952.96 in restitution to the victim.
Prosecutors said Edwards used “violence and other coercive means” to force Smith to work at his restaurant, subjecting Smith to “physical and emotional abuse whenever the victim made a mistake or failed to work fast enough.”
The Department of Justice reports that Edwards would often beat Smith “with belts, fists, pots and pans,” noting:
On one occasion, he dipped metal tongs into hot grease and burned the victim’s neck. The defendant further yelled at the victim and used racial slurs to belittle and demean him.
Commenting on the heinous crime, Sherri Lydon, U.S. attorney for the District of South Carolina, said:
For stealing his victim’s freedom and wages, Mr. Edwards has earned every day of his sentence. The U.S. Attorney’s Office will not tolerate forced or exploitative labor in South Carolina, and we are grateful to the watchful citizen and our partners in law enforcement who put a stop to this particularly cruel violence.
Bottom line: White supremacist Bobby Paul Edwards enslaved an intellectually disabled black man, forcing the man to work for more than 100 hours a week without pay by means of physical violence, threats, and intimidation.