Joe Rickey Hundley, the Idaho man who allegedly slapped a toddler on a Delta flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta, has lost his job following the incident.
Hundley, 60, of Hayden, was president of a division of AGC Aerospace & Defense, CBS News said. In a statement, the company called the allegations against Hundley “offensive and disturbing” and said he was no longer an employee.
“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,” AGC said in the statement. “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 faces federal simple assault charges in Atlanta for allegedly slapping a 19-month-old boy on a Feb. 8 flight, the Associated Press reported.
Hundley’s attorney, Marcia Shein, told the AP that her client would plead not guilty to the charges. Hundley faces up to a year in jail if convicted.
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Charges against Hundley were filed after the toddler’s mother, Jessica Bennett, 33, complained to the FBI. She said that her son started to cry as the plane was going in for a landing.
Hundley allegedly “told her to shut that n----- baby up,” wrote FBI special agent Daron Cheney in the federal complaint, according to the AP. The Idaho man then slapped the boy in the face and scratched the toddler below his right eye, which exacerbated the child’s screams, the mother said.
Bennett and her husband are white, while Jonah, whom they adopted, is black. Bennett claimed Hundley “growled” at her and Jonah as they found their seats on the Delta flight.
"I said, 'Oh, we are sitting next to you,' and he just basically rolled his eyes and growled at us," Bennett said, according to CBS News.
She said the Idaho man at one point started “turning my light back on after I would turn it off and constantly saying things to the staff in regards to my son, and so I took us out of the situation, and we stood back by the bathrooms,” Bennett told the network.
Bennett told CBS she is more concerned about the psychological effects on her son than the physical injuries he sustained.
"He has suffered [psychological] effects from this for sure,” she said.