Joe Rickey Hundley, 60, of Idaho is accused of slapping a 19-month-old on a flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta. (Source: KARE/CNN)
Jonah Bennett sits with his mom, Jessica Bennett, as she discusses the alleged assault on the airplane. (Source: KARE/CNN) KARE
(RNN) – The man accused of hitting a toddler on a Delta Air Lines flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta no longer has a job.
Al Haase, president and CEO of AGC Aerospace and Defense, Composites Group, said Joe Rickey Hundley was not with the company as of Sunday, according to the Associated Press. The AP reported Haase called the alleged behavior of the former company executive during a personal trip "disturbing."
Hundley, 60, of Hayden, ID, was charged with simple assault of 19-month-old Jonah Bennett after the Feb. 8 flight.
The boy's mother, 33-year-old Jessica Bennett, said Hundley smelled of alcohol and "told her to shut that (N-word) baby up," court records showed. She told KARE Hundley said another racial slur and slapped Jonah, scratching him below his right eye.
"I could not believe he would say something like that to a baby or about a baby and then to hit him," she said. "I felt like I was in another world. I was shaking."
She credited other passengers with coming to her aid and giving them another seat on the plane.
Jessica Bennett and her husband are white; their adopted son is black. John Thompson, the Bennett family attorney, said in a CNN interview the parents knew they would have to discuss the race issue but never expected to deal with anything this early in Jonah's life.
Hundley's employer initially suspended him after hearing of the alleged incident. A company spokesman would not say whether he resigned or was fired, only that the allegations were contradictory to the company's values.
Hundley's attorney said he plans to plead not guilty and asked the public not to rush to judgment, according to CNN.
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