Mother describes Idaho man’s in-flight toddler slapping



Posted on February 18, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Updated Monday, Feb 18 at 8:01 PM

HAYDEN, Idaho-- A man charged with slapping a toddler on a Minneapolis-to-Atlanta flight is out of a job according to his former employer.

Joe Rickey Hundley, 60, of Hayden, Idaho, is no longer an employee of AGC Aerospace and Defense, Composites Group, Daniel Keeney of DPK Public Relations confirmed Sunday night.

The trouble began on a flight when Jessica Bennett and her 2-year-old son, Jonah, sat down next to Hundley.

“I said oh we are sitting next to you and he just kind of rolled his eyes and growled at us," recounted Bennett.

Hundley allegedly began to complain that Jonah was too big to sit on his mothers lap. Bennett said he became more outspoken as the flight continued.

“He's turning my light back on after I would turn it off and constantly saying things to the staff in regards to my son,” said Bennett, “so I took us out of the situation and we stood back by the bathrooms."

Court documents stated that Bennett stood in the back of the plane with Jonah for 90 minutes. She claimed that she only returned to seat for landing.  Bennett said that her son began crying when she sat down and that made Hundley irate.

“He look at me in a very hateful way,” said Bennett.

She claimed that Hundley then told her to “shut that ‘N’ word kid up.”

Court documents showed that Hundley then pushed up against Bennett’s face and repeated himself. Hundley allegedly slapped the toddler when Bennett pushed back. Jonah suffered a minor scrape.

Hundley was charged last week in federal court in Atlanta with simple assault for allegedly slapping the 2-year-old boy during the Feb. 8 flight. His attorney, Marcia Shein, of Decatur, Ga., said Saturday that Hundley will plead not guilty. The charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail.