A Delta Air Lines passenger faces a federal assault charge after allegedly slapping a fellow traveler’s crying 2-year-old son to quiet the child as their flight arrived in Atlanta, according to an FBI affidavit.
Joe Rickey Hundley of Hayden, Idaho, was on Flight 721 from Minneapolis, Minn., to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Feb. 8. He was sitting next to Jessica Bennett of Minneapolis when her son began crying from the change in cabin pressure as the plane descended, Bennett told FBI Special Agent Daron Cheney in the Feb. 12 affidavit.
Bennett said she tried to get her son to stop crying, but he continued.
“According to Ms. Bennett, a male passenger next to her in Row 28, Seat A, later identified as Joe Rickey Hundley, told her to shut that “[racial slur] baby up.” Ms. Bennett stated that Joe Rickey Hundley then turned around and slapped [the child] in the face with an open hand, which caused the juvenile victim to scream even louder.”
Efforts were made Friday to reach Hundley for comment. In an interview with The Smoking Gun website, which first reported the incident, Hundley denied striking the child or using a racial slur.
Delta spokesman Morgan Durrant told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that flight attendants separated the passengers after the incident and the crew arranged for law enforcement to meet the flight when it landed.
Read more: AJC