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article imageMan slapped child on Delta flight, saying 'shut n***** baby up'

By JohnThomas Didymus     Feb 18, 2013 in Crime
Joe Rickey Hundley, 60, from Hayden, Idaho, an executive of an aerospace company has been charged with assaulting a 19-month old baby and uttering a racial slur on a Delta Airline flight. He has also lost his job.
According to The Smoking Gun, US District Court affidavit says Hundley was charged with simple assault.
At first, his company suspended him but on Sunday fired him. CNN reports that Hundley's company AGC Aerospace & Defense, said in a statement: "Reports of the recent behavior of one of our business unit executives while on personal travel are offensive and disturbing. We have taken this matter very seriously and worked diligently to examine it since learning of the matter on Friday afternoon. As of Sunday, the executive is no longer employed with the company."
The statement added: "We wish to emphasize that the behavior that has been described is contradictory to our values, embarrassing and does not in any way reflect the patriotic character of the men and women of diverse backgrounds who work tirelessly in our business."
Spokesman-Review reports that Hundley is president of UNITECH Composites and Structures in Hayden, a subsidiary of AGC Aerospace & Defense.
According to The Smoking Gun, documents filed at the US District Court in Atlanta last week said Jessica Bennett, 33, of Minnesota and her adopted son were seated in row 28, Seat B, on Delta Flight 721 that took off from Minneapolis. As the plane began descent into Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, the boy began to cry, according to his mother, "due to the altitude change" which made him to feel "pressure in his ears." The mother tried to soothe the child, but Hundley who was seated next to the mother and son allegedly told her to "shut that n***** baby up."
An FBI affidavit obtained by The Smoking Gun, said Hundley then slapped the child on the face with his open palm, causing the child to scream even louder.
The Herald Sun reports Bennet said that after Hundley uttered the racial slur, she said to him: "What did you just say?" She continued: "And he was so drunk that he fell onto my face, and his mouth moved over to my ear and he said it, just directly into my ear."
The toddler alleged suffered a scratch below his right eye.
According to the affidavit signed by FBI agent Daron Cheney, after Hundley hit the child, several passengers came to Bennett's assistance. One of the passengers was Todd Wooten who said he "heard derogatory language coming from the rear of the aircraft." Cheney wrote in the affidavit: "According to Mr. Wooten, he saw Joe Rickey Hundley strike” the child.
Bennet told CNN affiliate KARE in Minneapolis: "I could not believe that he would say something like that and to a baby or about a baby and then to hit him was just... I felt like I was in another world. I was shaking."
The Herald Sun reports Bennet said: "When I looked at Jonah's face, his eye was swollen... and it was bleeding. I was just scared to death."
A Delta Airline spokesman Morgan Durrant, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that flight attendants separated the passengers while the crew called for law enforcement to meet the flight when it landed.
According to The Smoking Gun, Hundley, in an interview, denied striking the toddler or using a racial slur. However, he admitted that he "asked the mother to quiet the child." He said he was traveling to Atlanta to visit a hospitalized relative. He claimed he was “distraught” on the flight, and that he had consumed some alcohol before the incident.
However, the Herald Sun reports that Bennett family's attorney John Thompson, said several passengers saw Mr Hundley hit the child.
Bennett, who was traveling to a family funeral, told The Smoking Gun that Hundley appeared intoxicated at the time he boarded the plane, saying that he "reeked of alcohol" and stumbled "around wasted." According to Bennett, Hundley drank several double vodkas during the two-hour flight and raised complaints about her adopted son, saying he was too big to be a "lap baby."
This is not the first time that Hundley has been charged with assault, According to Virginia state court records, he was arrested in 2007 after a fight with his girlfriend. He was at first charged with simple assault, carrying a concealed weapon, and public intoxication, but he later pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault.
CNN reports court papers say that the charge of simple assault on someone under age 16 carries a prison sentence of up to one year.
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