Disabled Black Worker:
A racist restaurant manager kept a disabled black worker as a slave for years and burned him with hot tongs to make him work faster.
Bobby Paul Edwards, 45, was sentenced to ten years in prison on Wednesday for forcing John Christopher Smith to work 100 hours a week with no pay.
Edwards was the manager at J&J Cafeteria in Conway, South Carolina, where he would beat Smith with belts, fists, pots and pans to coerce him to work without pay.
Smith, who has an intellectual disability, said Edwards once dipped metal tongs in hot grease and used them to burn the back of his bare neck.
According to Smith, Edwards would also use racial slurs to demean him. He would reportedly not allow Smith to see his family and forced him to stay in the kitchen or in a unit behind the restaurant where he lived when they visited.
Smith told WPDE: ‘I couldn’t go anywhere. I couldn’t see none of my family so that was that. The main basic thing I wanted to see was my mom come see me. I coudn’t see my mom, and I couldn’t talk to nobody.’
He said he worked at the restaurant for 23 years, beginning when he was a dishwasher at 12 years old. Edwards became the manager six years later.
‘I wanted to get out of there a long time ago. But I didn’t have nobody I could go to. I couldn’t go anywhere. I couldn’t see none of my family,’ he said.
‘I think he’s racist. But I didn’t know that though…until now.’
In 2014, a frequent customer noticed scars on Smith’s body and called for help, which is when police began investigating.
In addition to his ten-year murder sentence, Edwards was also ordered to pay Smith $272,952.96 in restitution.
The NAACP is now working to find Smith a new job. J&J Cafeteria is still owned by Edwards’ family, but it is now under new management.