Court Says White Restaurant Manager Who Enslaved Black Man Should Pay Him $546,000

A former restaurant manager who enslaved a cognitively impaired Black man between 2009 and 2014 should pay his victim double the restitution that had been originally determined, says the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. Pursuant to a plea deal struck with federal prosecutors in 2019, Bobby Paul Edwards, now 56, agreed to pay John Christopher Smith, now 43, $273,000 in unpaid wages and overtime in accordance with the Fair Labor Standards Act. Edwards was sentenced to 10-years in prison as part of the deal.

The enslavement began in 2009 when Edwards, who is White, became manager at the now shuttered J&J Cafeteria in Conway, SC. Smith, who was working at the restaurant as a cook, stopped getting
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