Some people have no place in society, and Bobby Paul Edwards is one of them. Edwards was sentenced to 10-years in prison after pleading guilty to one count of forced labor for his inhumane treatment of Chris Smith who was a black man with an intellectual disability. According to The Washington Post, Edward, 56, owned a Cafeteria in South Carolina and who forced Smith to work for him for 5 years without pay.
From 2009 to 2014, Smith was employed for Edward who often took advantage of him by using manipulation and abusive tactics such as making Smith work 100 hours every week with no days off. Most disturbing is that Edwards physically abused Smith, 45, and used racial epithets to keep Smith under his control.
Smith was a dishwasher and a table busser at the restaurant and had no issues with the previous owner. However, once Edwards took over, he began targeting Smith for unknown reasons.
According to Smith’s lawyer, Smith moved into one of Edwards’ apartments and the living conditions went beyond human decency with rodents and trash everywhere. The Post quoted someone from the Department of Justice as saying“[ Edwards beat Smith] into submission, whipping him with a belt, knocking him with pots and pans, and at one time, burning him with hot grease.”
After Edwards pled guilty, he was first ordered to pay Smith $273,000 for unpaid wages and overtime compensation. However, The United States Court of Appeals Fourth Circuit tallied up the figures and they discovered that amount was inaccurate, and Edwards was ordered to pay $546,000.
“Most of the time, I felt unsafe, like Bobby could kill me if he wanted,” Smith said in court documents. “I wanted to get out of that place so bad but couldn’t think about how I could without being hurt.”
A lady whose daughter-in-law worked at the restaurant sensed something was of concerned and made a call to the authorities and that’s when Edwards’ actions were discovered.
“For stealing his victim’s freedom and wages, Mr. Edwards has earned every day of his sentence,” U.S. Attorney for the District of South Carolina Sherri A. Lydon after Edward’s 2019 sentencing. “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.”