by Andrew Crisp
After a Feb. 8 incident aboard Delta Airlines Flight 721, Joe Rickey Hundley, 60, of Hayden, Idaho, has been charged with assault for allegedly slapping a crying child.
Jessica Bennett of Minneapolis told authorities her 2-year-old son began crying as the plane began its descent into Atlanta, Ga.'s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, and that Hundley used a racial epithet—the N-word—to demand she quiet her son.
Bennett's story was supported by another passenger, who claimed he witnessed Hundley slap the child, after which the passengers were separated by the flight crew. Bennett told investigators Hundley caused a scratch below the child's right eye, and that she believed Hundley was intoxicated when he boarded the plane, because he "reeked of alcohol." Hundley claimed he had one alcoholic drink on the flight.
After the Smoking Gun broke the story, the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Wash., reported that Hundley, president of UNITECH Composites and Structures in north Idaho, claimed the allegations were "an absolute falsehood."