The man who allegedly slapped an African American toddler and called him a racist name is now being charged with assault after the toddler’s mother finally broke her silence.
Jessica Bennett, 33, is the adoptive mother of baby Jonah. He was crying during a Delta flight from Minnesota to Atlanta because he was feeling “the pressure in his ears.”
While it’s expected that people get a little annoyed by a child’s cries on a small airplane, no one expected Joe Rickey Hundley to react how he did.
When Hundley had enough of Jonah’s crying, he told his mother to “shut that n***er baby up.”
Jessica, shocked by what she heard, asked him, “What did you just say?” He then drunkenly moved his mouth over to her ear and repeated the phrase.
Next, he slapped Jonah and left him with a swollen, bleeding eye.
Jessica said Jonah was traumatized by incident and has “become apprehensive to strangers since.”
But Hundley’s lawyer, Marcia Shein, said no one should make any judgments on the man until the case is over, as he is pleading not guilty.
Proving he is not guilty, though, will be a challenge for Shein, as many people witnessed the incident, including a federal air marshal.
He has been charged with simple assault and faces a maximum of one year in prison if convicted.
Hundley, 60, is president of an aircraft parts manufacturer in Idaho, and denied hitting the child and using a racial slur. He said he asked “the mother to quiet the child.”
Now, Hundley is suspended from his job at Unitech Composites and Structures.
The president and CEO of AGC Aerospace and Defense, Composites Group, Unitech’s parent company, said they are taking the case seriously.
“In accordance with our company’s personal conduct policy, we have suspended the employee pending investigation,” Al Haase said.
“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.”
Hundley said he was in Atlanta to visit a hospitalized relative, and was in a “distraught” emotional state on the plane. He said he had one alcoholic drink before boarding the plane.
Jessica said Hundley was obviously drunk, as he “reeked of alcohol” and was “stumbling around wasted.”
This isn’t Hundley’s first encounter with the law. In 2007, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault after he got into a fight with his girlfriend.