There is no doubt that when you are traveling with an infant, or even a toddler for that matter, they will get fussy, and they will cry. It’s in their nature. Especially so when you are traveling on an aircraft with your child. What with all those changes in altitudes and such. A 19 month old boy was sitting on his mother’s lap on a Delta Airlines flight en route to Atlanta, and he was naturally, fussy and crying. A 60 year-old man also traveling on the plane took it upon himself to make the child quiet down, by any means possible.
The incident occurred February 8th, on Delta Airlines flight 721 en route to Atlanta, Georgia, when Joe Rickey Hundley, of Hayden, Idaho and president of Unitech Composites and Structures, an aircraft parts manufacturer allegedly told Jessica Bennett to “shut that n—-r baby up” and then proceeded to slap the boy with an open palm, leaving the child’s face swollen and bleeding. In response to being slapped, the child simply cried louder. Bennett was naturally appalled at the racist remark and replied “What did you say?” to which Hundley stumbled closer to her face and whispered the racial slur again.
Hundley has claimed that his nerves were frazzled, as he was traveling to see a sick relative, while Bennett claims that he “reeked of alcohol and was clearly inebriated.” Hundley has since claimed that he is not a racist. Todd Wooten who was also a passenger on the aircraft said that he had “heard derogatory language coming from the rear of the aircraft,” and decided that he was going to investigate. That was when he allegedly witnessed Hundley striking the child across the face.
Hundley has since been charged with simple assualt if convicted, can face up to a year in jail. He also no longer is employed at Unitech Composites and Structures, with the company’s CEO responding to the incident; “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.” It isn’t clear whether Hundley left voluntarily or was fired. According to his attorney, he will plead ‘not guilty’ to the charge he faces.