Jonah and Jessica Bennett
A man accused of slapping a crying toddler on a flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta has been fired, according to a statement from his former employer.
Joe Hundley, 60, of Hayden, Idaho, is no longer an employee of aircraft parts manufacturing company AGC Aerospace and Defense Composites Group, a spokesman confirmed to The Associated Press Sunday night. The president and CEO of AGC released a statement Sunday morning that condemned the “offensive and disturbing” behavior of the ex-company president.
Joe Hundley allegedly slapped 19-month-old Jonah Bennett after demanding that the crying child’s mother “shut that [n-word] baby up,” according to an FBI report obtained by The Smoking Gun. Jessica Bennett, 33, was traveling with her adopted son Jonah on her lap from Minneapolis to Atlanta on Feb. 8. The change in altitude as the plane made its final descent caused the toddler to begin crying, Bennett told FBI Special Agent Daron Cheney. She was attempting to quiet her son when Hundley, who was sitting next to them, used the racial epithet to demand that she shut the child up. He then allegedly “turned around and slapped [Jonah] in the face with an open hand, which caused the juvenile victim to scream even louder.” Bennett told the FBI that the slap caused a scratch underneath her son’s eye.
After Hundley hit the child, the report states, several other passengers on the plane came to aid the Bennetts. One passenger, Todd Wooten, told FBI Agent Cheney that he “heard derogatory language coming from the rear of the aircraft” and left his seat to investigate the disruption. Wooten claims to have witnessed the assault on the toddler.
In an interview with KARE-TV, Bennett said that Hundley “reeked of alcohol” and appeared intoxicated throughout the flight. “He was obnoxious and I was uncomfortable.”
Hundley was charged last week in Atlanta federal court with simple assault, for which the maximum penalty is a year in jail. His attorney, Marcia Shein, told the AP on Saturday that Hundley will plead not guilty.