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Fired! Flier who allegedly slapped toddler loses job

  • Joe Rickey Hundley accused of using racial slur, hitting child on plane
  • Hundley's attorney says her client plans to plead not guilty
Joe Rickey Hundley

The man accused of slapping a toddler during a flight has been fired by his employer.

Joe Rickey Hundley, 60, of Hayden, Idaho, is no longer an employee of AGC Aerospace and Defense, Composites Group. Al Hasse, the company's president, released a statement saying, "Reports of the recent behavior of one of our business unit executives while on personal travel are offensive and disturbing." Hasse also called the behavior "embarrassing" and "contradictory to our values." 

Hundley was charged with simple assault after he allegedly used a racial slur and slapped a child. According to court documents, Jessica Bennett was traveling from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Atlanta, Georgia, with her 19-month-old son. As the plane made its final descent to Atlanta on February 8, Bennett's child started crying due to the altitude change. Bennett tried to stop her son from crying, but he continued.  

Joe Rickey Hundley, who was seated next to Bennett, reportedly told her to "shut that n----- baby up." According to court documents, he then slapped Bennett's son with an open hand, which caused him to scream louder. Bennett said Hundley's slap caused a scratch below her son's right eye. 

"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 HLN affiliate KARE.

According to the court affidavit, other passengers helped Bennett and one of them saw the alleged incident. Bennett and her son were eventually moved to another seat. Delta Airlines told CNN it is cooperating with the investigation.

Read more: Airline: You can fly babyless skies

John Thompson, the Bennetts' family attorney, told CNN's Starting Point they have not yet decided if they plan to sue, however he said the family wants to send a message that Hundley's actions were inappropriate.

"The family wants to make sure that Mr. Hundley and anyone like Mr. Hundley never does something like that again," Thompson said.

CNN talked with Hundley on Friday, but he referred questions to his attorney. Hundley's attorney said her client plans to plead not guilty and hopes the situation can be resolved.

Read more: Plane awesome -- parents of infants give fliers gifts!

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