An Idaho man is under arrest and charged with assault after hurling a racial slur and slapping a crying toddler in the face on Friday.
60-year old Joe Hundley was seated next to Jessica Bennett and her 19-month old adopted son Jonah, aboard a flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta when the toddler became fussy. As the plane descended the baby began to cry. That's when Hundley told Bennett to "shut that n*gger baby up" and slapped the child near his eye causing him to bleed and cry even more.
Other passengers came to Bennett's aid and she was given another seat.
"I could not believe he would say that and then hit him," Jessica Bennett told KARE 11. "I felt like i was in another world. I was shaking."
Bennet said Hundley had drunk several double vodkas during the flight and had previously complained that her son was too big to be a “lap baby.”
Jessica, Josh and Jonah Bennett
"He reeked of alcohol," recalls Bennett. "He was belligerent and I was uncomfortable. [Joe] Hundley's comments were racist and hateful. We have numerous questions about how a passenger could get so violently out of control as to assault a toddler."
Hundley denied using a racial slur or hitting the baby. He did acknowledge that he “asked the mother to quiet the child" according to the Smoking Gun.
However, another passenger on the flight corroborated Jessica Bennett's story.
Todd Wootentold agents that he “heard derogatory language coming from the rear of the aircraft” and got up to investigate. Wooten said he “he saw Joe Rickey Hundley strike” the toddler.
Hundley's employer says he has been suspended from his position with Unitech Composites and Structures in Hayden, Idaho, pending the outcome of the criminal investigation.
If convicted Hundley could face up to one year in prison.
"If he goes unpunished it would be awful," said Jessica's husband Josh. "We want to see this guy do some time."
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