An Idaho man has been charged with simple assault for slapping an infant on an airplane, according to a Feb. 15 Associated Press report. Legal documents filed by FBI special agent Daron Cheney in United States District Court allege that 60-year-old Joe Rickey Hundley of Hayden, Idaho, slapped the two-year-old boy during a Delta Air Lines flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta on Feb. 8.
The boy’s mother Jessica Bennett told authorities that the boy cried due to change in altitude when the plane was descending in preparation for landing. 33-year-old Bennett said that Hundley was sitting next to her on the plane and slapped her son in his face, scratching his right eye. She adds that Hundley also used a racial slur while asking that she keep the infant quiet, but the boy’s crying only seemed get louder after being hit.
According to Bennett, Hundley “told her to shut that N**** up,” per Cheney’s affidavit filed in federal court. The affidavit continues, “Ms. Bennett received assistance from several people on the plane, including male passenger Todd Wooten.”
The Daily Mail reports that the 2-year-old boy is adopted, and the 60-year-old, who is the president of an Idaho-based aircraft parts manufacturer, denies slapping the infant or using the racial language alleged by Bennett.
Hundley does admit however, to asking Bennett to quiet her son. He claims he was traveling to Atlanta to visit a sick family member and says he was distraught. He adds that he had one alcoholic drink on the plane, even though Bennett reportedly described him as intoxicated.
Authorities say that Hundley as not taking into custody. Whether or not the case will proceed is unclear as of now. “We think that it is important to let the case develop, and we'll see how it all comes out,” Hundley's attorney Marcia Shein said on Feb. 15.
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