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Man charged with slapping toddler now out of a job

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 09:14 a.m. HST, Feb 18, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS » A man charged with slapping a toddler on a Minneapolis-to-Atlanta flight is out of a job, his former employer said Sunday.

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.

Al Haase, president and CEO of AGC, issued a statement early Sunday that, while not referring to Hundley by name, called reports of behavior by one of its executives on recent personal travel "offensive and disturbing" and said he "is no longer employed with the company." Keeney would not say whether Hundley was fired or resigned. Hundley was president of AGC's Unitech Composites and Structures unit.

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.

Shein did not immediately returned messages seeking comment left Sunday evening by The Associated Press. Hundley does not have a listed phone number.

The boy's mother, Jessica Bennett, 33, told the FBI their flight was on final descent into Atlanta when her 19-month-old son started to cry due to the altitude change. Hundley "told her to shut that (N-word) baby up," FBI special agent Daron Cheney said in a sworn statement. She said Hundley then slapped him in the face, scratching the boy below his right eye and causing him to scream even louder.

Bennett told Twin Cities television stations on Saturday that the incident has caused her family a great deal of trauma and that her son, Jonah, had been outgoing but had turned apprehensive of strangers.

Hundley became increasingly obnoxious and appeared intoxicated during the flight and complained that her son was too big to sit on her lap, she said.

"He reeked of alcohol," Bennett told KARE-TV. "He was belligerent, and I was uncomfortable."

Bennett said she was shocked by the racial slur she says Hundley used when Jonah started crying.

"And I said, 'What did you say?' because I couldn't believe that he would say that," she told WCCO-TV. "He fell onto my face and his mouth was in my ear and he said it again but even more hateful. And he's on my face, so I pushed him away."

Bennett and her husband are white, while Jonah, whom they adopted, is black.

"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," Haase said in his statement.

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Bdpapa wrote:
on February 18,2013 | 08:30AM
nitpikker wrote:
good to see SOME companies don't tolerate racism.....now if they were ALL like that....
on February 18,2013 | 08:42AM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
I have a strong feeling that the fact that the bigot's employer appears to be totally reliant on Federal Government defense contracts (the comment of patriotic employees was the give away), and the head of the Federal Government's administrative branch of government (the President) is black had something to do with the immediate firing of the bigot.
on February 18,2013 | 05:57PM
false wrote:
This comment has been deleted.
on February 18,2013 | 09:14AM
residenttaxpayer wrote:
Still yet..it was the proper thing to do.
on February 18,2013 | 09:24AM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
Every once in a while less than virtuous motives end up in a virtuous result.
on February 18,2013 | 05:59PM
honopic wrote:
That's your assumption, and you're entitled to it. I choose to believe they pointed out how unacceptable his behavior was and gave him a choice -- quit or get fired. If I were his boss, option number one would not exist.
on February 18,2013 | 05:23PM
olos73 wrote:
No can handle your alcohol, stay home.
on February 18,2013 | 09:23AM
bpet wrote:
A racial slur directed to a two-year-old child is unforgivable . . this man deserves to be removed from his job and hopefully will have to pay further for traumatizing the child and his mother. Alcohol use is not a defence for bigotry.
on February 18,2013 | 10:44AM
honopic wrote:
The mother said she smelled alcohol on his breath earlier. If the flight attendants served him more, there may be a liability for Delta. Also, isn't it a federal offense to assault another passenger on a commercial flight?
on February 18,2013 | 05:27PM
saywhatyouthink wrote:
No one likes a crying baby on an airplane but this guy went way too far and got what he deserved. He'll probably get jail time too. Bummer.
on February 18,2013 | 11:38AM
DABLACK wrote:
A stay among Blacks at the prison should help him !!
on February 18,2013 | 11:42AM
EducatedLocalBoy wrote:
The bigot, if jailed will be sent to a country club prison without violent prisoners, black or otherwise. However, the biggest problem he will face is the BLACK PRISON GUARDS. The bigot will be in situations where it'll one on one with a a black prison guard and the guard will say something like the bigot violated a rule or committed insubordination by refusing to obey an order from the guard and in the disciplinary hearing guess who will be believed ? (hint it won't be the prisoner)
on February 18,2013 | 06:32PM
Eradication wrote:
There wouldn't be anything left of the guy to go to court if that was my kid he hit, adopted or not.
on February 18,2013 | 12:28PM
st1d wrote:
he needs to stand at a corner with a cardboard sign offering to be slapped by passers-by for a quarter. he's toast in the corporate world, might as well practice the phrase "would you like fries with that?"
on February 18,2013 | 02:05PM
Hawaii001 wrote:
Like what that kid on the Simpsons says... "HA HA!"
on February 18,2013 | 03:08PM
hikine wrote:
Child abuse charges should also be in the wings.
on February 18,2013 | 10:14PM
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