In February 2013, Joe Rickey Hundley was flying from Minneapolis to Atlanta, when a 19-month old infant on his plane had the nerve to make crying noises. Hundley took the law into his own hands, exacting justice on the insolent baby with a cold, hard slap. Today, he was sentenced for his crime. Here’s what you need to know:
1. He’ll Be Doing 8 Months Hard Time
— HuffPost UK (@HuffPostUK) January 6, 2014
According to USA Today, the prosecution had only asked for a six-month sentence, after Hundley entered a guilty plea this past October. But the judge felt that in light of Hundley’s criminal history, an 8 month stint would be more appropriate. Hundley’s lawyer, Marcia Shein, is none too pleased with the judge’s decision, and feels the sentence is disproportionate to his crime.
The maximum sentence for a simple assault of the person under 16 years of age, is one year in prison, and a possible fine of up to $100, 000.
2. Prosecutors Say Hundley Shouted ‘Shut that N*gger Baby Up’
Jessica Bennet was seated next to Hundley in Row 28 of the Delta aircraft. She was attempting to quiet her infant child, who is of African extraction, when she claims Hundley instructed her to “Shut that [‘N word’] baby up.” Bennet told ABC news that she then incredulously asked Hundley what he’d just said. Bennet remembers Hundley responding thusly:
“He was so drunk that he fell onto my face, and his mouth moved over to my ear and he said it, just directly into my ear.”
Hundley claims that he’d only ingested one alcoholic drink, used no racial language, and had politely asked the mother to quiet her child, before taking the logical next step of slapping a baby across the face.
3. Hundley Lost His Job Because of the Incident
At the time of the incident, Hundley was an executive at AGC Aerospace and Defense, an aircraft parts manufacturer based in Idaho. 10 days after his decision to slap a baby on a plane, he was let go. AGC’s CEO called Hundley’s reported behavior “offensive and disturbing,” telling ABC that such “embarassing” conduct “does not in any way reflect the patriotic character of the men and women of diverse backgrounds who work tirelessly in our business.”
Hundley had since relocated to North Carolina, where he hopes to return to the aerospace engineering industry.
4. In 2007, He Was Arrested for Assaulting His Girlfriend
According to the Smoking Gun, while living in Virginia, Hundley got into a drunken fight with his girlfriend, that resulted in his arrest, and eventual conviction for misdemeanor assault.
5.This Isn’t the First Time a Baby Was Slapped on an American Airplane
In 2010, a Southwest Airlines flight attendant took some heat for taking a baby from its mother, after seeing the mother slap the baby across the face. The flight attendant later clarified that she only picked up the baby and held her, until the baby ceased crying.
The mother explained herself to police by saying:
“I haven’t done anything wrong with my child. I popped her when she kicked me and that was it…She’s done this before when she gets tired and she’ll slap me in/toward my face and stuff. I think it’s because she saw my nephew do it. He slapped my sister in the face and I guess she thinks it’s OK. And I’m trying to teach her that it’s not. And if she continues to kick because she saw him do it, it makes it OK. And the only reason I popped her is so she knows it’s not. ‘Cause when she’s screaming and she can’t hear me say no, that’s the only way I can get her to stop.”
Unfortunately for Hundley, in the eyes of the law, babies have faces only a mother can slap.
The full text of the federal criminal complaint against Hundley can be read below:
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