Man faces up to one year in jail for slapping crying toddler on flight

Man faces up to one year in jail for slapping crying toddler on flight


A man had pleaded guilty to slapping a crying child on a flight.

Joe Rickey Hundley was on a Delta Air Lines flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta when he used a racial slur to refer to a 19-month-old boy sitting on his mother's lap, before hitting him under the right eye.

The Associated Press reports that the assault charge carries a possible prison sentence up to one year and a fine of up to $100,000 (£62,300).

At the start of the flight, Hundley asked a flight attendant about the airline's policy regarding "lap children". As a result, the mother Jessica Bennett decided to spend most of the flight at the rear of the cabin with her son, only returning shortly before landing.

According to the FBI, the child started crying as the plane descended and Hundley leaned over to Bennett and "told her to shut that (N-word) baby up."

He then slapped the toddler, leaving a scratch below his right eye.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that lawyer Suzette Smikle told the court: "He appeared to be intoxicated at the time."

Hundley's lawyer Marcia Shein said he had spent 24 hours awake after his brain-dead son was taken off life support at hospital.

"He lost a child. And to hear a child scream... he lost it. He was up for 24 hours determining whether to unplug his son."

Hundley's plea requires him to seek drug or alcohol treatment and anger-management counselling.

He will return to court in January for a sentence hearing.

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