Man fired after allegedly assaulting toddler on plane

Joe Rickey Hundley

Joe Rickey Hundley

(CNN) — An Idaho man accused of uttering a racial slur and slapping a crying 19-month-old boy on a Delta Air Lines flight is now out of a job.

Joe Rickey Hundley of Hayden, Idaho, was charged with assaulting a minor in the February 8 incident. His company, which initially suspended him, said Sunday that Hundley no longer has his job.

“Reports of the recent behavior of one of our business unit executives while on personal travel are offensive and disturbing,” said a statement from AGC Aerospace & Defense. “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 Aerospace & Defense supplies technology and other services to the military and businesses.

The family’s attorney, John Thompson, said they have not decided yet whether to sue. But he said Monday they believe Hundley should be punished beyond the loss of his job and possible one-year federal prison sentence.

“The family wants to make sure that Mr. Hundley and anyone like Mr. Hundley never does something like that again,” he said on CNN’s “Starting Point.”

Affidavit: Slap with an open hand

According to documents filed in U.S. District Court in Atlanta last week:

The boy’s mother, Jessica Bennett, 33, of Minnesota and her son were seated in row 28, seat B, on Delta Flight 721 that originated in Minneapolis.

As the plane began its descent into Atlanta, the boy began to cry because of the altitude change and his mother tried to soothe him.

Then Hundley, who was seated next to the mother and son, allegedly told her to “shut that (‘N word’) baby up.”

Hundley then turned around and slapped the child in the face with an open hand, which caused him to scream even louder, an FBI affidavit said.

The boy suffered a scratch below his right eye.

Other passengers on the plane assisted Bennett, and one of them heard the slur and witnessed the alleged assault, the affidavit said.

No comment

“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,” Bennett told CNN affiliate KARE in Minneapolis.

The charge of simple assault on someone under age 16 carries a prison sentence of one year, court papers said.

In 2007, Hundley pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor assault charge filed in Virginia, according to court records.

Reached by phone Friday, Hundley declined to comment to CNN and referred inquiries to his attorney.

The attorney couldn’t be immediately reached for comment at the time.

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