In today’s “the world is going to hell” news, a white man accused of slapping a black toddler on an airplane pleaded not guilty to assault in federal court.
Joe Rickey Hundley, a resident of Idaho, appeared Wednesday to answer to the misdemeanor assault charges. The 60-year-old man allegedly slapped 19-month-old Jonah Bennett after hurling a racial slur at his mother during a Feb. 8 Delta Airline flight from Minneapolis-to-Atlanta.
Jessica Bennett, the toddler’s mother, asserts her 19-month-old son was crying from cabin pressure. Hundley told her to “shut that [racial slur] baby up” before he smacked her child.
Hundley’s attorney, Marcia Shein, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he was in distress during the flight. Shein said her client was traveling to Atlanta to take his only child off life support and he had been awake for 24 hours straight prior to the altercation.
She also admitted Hundley used the racial slur, but denies the alleged assault.
Hundley is scheduled to appear again in court April 9. He is out on $10,000 bond.