Mentally Disabled Black Restaurant Worker Enslaved, Abused By White Manager, Prosecutors Say

Mentally Disabled Black Restaurant Worker Enslaved, Abused By White Manager, Prosecutors Say

Federal prosecutors claim Edwards used "force, threats of force, physical restraint, and coercion" on Smith by beating him with belts and forcing him to work with barely any breaks and little to no pay. He said the manager would call him racial slurs, and threaten to "stomp" his throat and beat him "until people would not recognize him".

"[The victim] was kept from his family and forced to live in sub-human conditions in a cockroach-infested apartment directly behind the Cafeteria which was owned by Defendants", a 2014 statement from the law firm read.

The brothers allegedly told him they were keeping all of his earnings in a bank account but never gave him access to it.

On one occasion, Edwards allegedly lashed him with a belt several times because he believed he had not taken food out fast enough to customers.

The lawsuit accused Edwards and his brother, Ernest J. Edwards, the owner of the restaurant, of slavery, discrimination and labor violations. The lawsuit remains unresolved, but Smith's attorney is hopeful for a conviction. Both have denied wrongdoing.

That didn't stop him working at J&J Cafeteria, a resturant in Conway, S.C. the 37-year-old began working at the establishment at 12, by washing dishes, busing tables rising to the chef duties.

"Clients that were going in there would hear stuff and they didn't comprehend what was happening, and they would ask the server, and the servers were so terrified of Bobby, they wouldn't reveal to them then what it was", she said.

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Smith was removed from the restaurant and placed in the care of Adult Protective Services after Geneane Caines, a woman whose daughter-in-law worked there, reported the abuse.

A white eatery administrator in SC has been arraigned for professedly oppressing a dark specialist with advancement delays for a long time and utilizing physical manhandle to constrain him to act as a smorgasbord cook.

The indictment outlining the charges against Edwards was sealed last week by a federal magistrate, who has not released it to the public. The state case is still pending.

State social workers vetted a tip from someone concerned for Smith's safety and came to Smith's rescue, the Courier reported.

The alleged victim, Christopher Smith, 39, said in a civil lawsuit that Edwards forced him to work 18-hour days, seven days a week and was repeatedly threatened and beaten - often going to the back of the restaurant or inside a walk-in refrigerator to carry out the abuse so others wouldn't notice.

NAACP Conway Chapter President Abdullah Mustafa told WPDE in 2015 that Edwards intimidated Smith to the point where the cook was afraid to leave. He liked the job until Edwards took over, he told the station. Smith said. "I want him to go to prison, and I want to be there when he go".

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