The man who slapped a baby on board an Atlanta bound Delta flight in February is telling his side of the story and blames his irrational actions on his own personal grief.
Joe Rickey Hundley has pleaded not guilty to charges of simple assault not because he denies every slapping the baby, but because he claims he wasn’t in a rational state of mind considering the troubling circumstances he was going through.
Hundley, who posted his $10,000 bond last month, was actually on his way to Atlanta to take his only child off of life support after his son overdosed on insulin.
His attorney, Marcia Shein, said that it was this grief and lack of sleep that caused the 60-year-old man to do and say some things that he now regrets.
“He was grieving and very upset,” Shein said of her client. “That’s why we’re going to trial.”
It is certainly nice to see that he is apologetic for what he did and said to Jessica Bennett and her 19-month-old son, but that’s not enough to pretend like it never happened.
In case you don’t know about the incident here’s a little recap:
Back in February Bennett’s son began crying on board a Delta flight due to the change in pressure that made the tyke’s ears pop. Hundley was sitting next to the crying baby and his mother and decided to take matters into his own hands.
So the grieving father decided to slap the baby in the face after instructing the mother to “shut that ni**er baby up.”
I’ve been through some serious grief and emotional rollercoasters in my life and it never occurred to me that I had the right to slap a baby or call anyone the N-word (or any other racial slur for that matter).
The death of a child is certainly a tragic experience and the pain is something that can’t be explained unless you’ve been there before. With that being said, however, it still isn’t an excuse or a right of passage to do what you want and get away with it.
When the case comes in front of a judge and set of jurors, the courts will have to consider the legal precedency that the ruling would set if they let Hundley off the hook.
If his defense is ultimately a case of “I was very upset because I was going through tough times so I wasn’t thinking clearly,” how many other attacks will we have to excuse because somebody was going through tough times?
Who is to say Chris Brown wasn’t going through tough times when he beat Rihanna back in 2009? That still wasn’t an excuse to hit anybody.
Will we have to walk around with full body armor to protect ourselves from anyone who is feeling a little overwhelmed by life because they suddenly have the right to slap us across the face and call us derogatory names?
That’s the slippery slope that the court will have to think about when the case comes before them.
Don’t get us wrong, our hearts certainly go out to the 60-year-old defendant.
Ever since the incident occurred he was fired from his position as the president of Unitech Composites by the business’s parent company.
So in addition to losing his child, he also lost his job and there is no telling how those two major losses will continue to impact his life.
Not to mention that if he is found guilty he will be ordered to pay a $100,000 fine in addition to serving up to a year in prison.
His court date is schedule for April 9.