Attorney: Family Of Boy Slapped Suffered ‘A Hate Crime’
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO/AP) — A business executive charged with slapping a toddler on a Minneapolis-to-Atlanta flight is now out of a job.
AGC Aerospace and Defense had suspended 60-year-old Joe Rickey Hundley, of Hayden, Idaho, as president of its Unitech Composites and Structures.
Witnesses say the Idaho man used a racial slur before slapping 19-month-old Jonah Bennett.
The boy’s mother said her son was crying on the Delta flight last week and Hundley was in the seat next to them.
Jessica Bennett said since being slapped, her son has been acting more reserved around strangers, and even family members.
On Monday, the family’s attorney said the loss of Hundley’s job isn’t enough.
“I mean, basically almost within a few seconds of each other he’s calling this boy an ‘N word’ and then assaulting him, so if that’s not a hate crime, I’m not sure what is,” Attorney John Thompson said.
He said the family hasn’t decided whether to file a lawsuit against Hundley at this point. First, Thompson said, he wants to see what the FBI turns up in its investigation.
Thompson said while they’re less interested in bringing action against Delta, they’re not ruling it out. After all, he said they allowed an intoxicated man to board, continued to serve him alcohol and didn’t move him to another seat when he complained about Jessica holding the child in her lap.
On Sunday, AGC issued a statement saying that, while not referring to Hundley by name, calls reports of an executive’s behavior on personal travel “offensive and disturbing” and says he “is no longer employed with the company.” The statement does not say whether the executive quit or was fired.
Hundley’s attorney has said he will plead not guilty.
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