Conway man arrested for assault and battery of employee

Bobby Paul Edwards. Photo provided by the J. Reuben Long Detention Center

A Conway man was arrested by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Wednesday for assaulting one of his employees.

Bobby Paul Edwards, owner of J&J Cafeteria in Conway, was charged with second degree assault and battery. His bond was set at $10,000.

Edwards was charged after a complaint of abuse and torture was made by the Department of Social Services.

DSS officials received a report from the South Carolina Governor's office about a vulnerable adult person who worked on location was being abused, according to a Conway police report.

According to an arrest warrant, Edwards engaged in a pattern of beating and torturing his employee including burning him, beating him with a belt, choking him, slapping him and punching him with a closed fist.

Because of the injuries, the victim had burn scars all over his body, scratches and other scars from being hit with an object such as a belt, according to the arrest warrant.

Conway police assisted DSS in the initial interviews of the employee, according to a Conway police report. DSS took the employee to an undisclosed location for his safety after he agreed to leave the business, the report said.

The president of the Conway NAACP, Abdullah Mustafa, says the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division didn't immediately put Edwards in handcuffs when it was informed of the abuse.

Mustafa says the NAACP wants to know why SLED allowed Edwards to turn himself in five weeks after the Department of Social Services got involved with the case.

"Why would SLED allow this guy to come this morning, Wednesday morning, to turn himself in, instead of arresting him? Is that the protocol? Is he an exception to the rule?" said Mustafa.

A SLED spokesman says investigations involve detailed work that takes time to get the facts right before an arrest.

He says it's not unusual for individuals to turn themselves in.

A representative of the cafe told WPDE NewsChannel 15 Edwards would not comment on the case.

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