Your Grief Doesn’t Excuse Being A Racist Toddler-Slapper, Jerk

Man Accused Of Slapping Toddler on Plane Maria Guido shared with you the heartwarming and cheerful  terrifying and creepy news that this 60-year-old executive on a Delta flight got all cranky with a 19-month-old baby and did what normal people do, ordered an extra cocktail and put on headphones, slapped the baby while yelling racial slurs at the mother. But it’s okay guys, we can all forgive him because the man who slapped the toddler on the plane claims he was grieving! From the Daily Mail:

Joe Rickey Hundley, 60, of Hayden, pleaded not guilty to federal assault charges on Wednesday after allegedly striking the 19-month-old boy in the face last February, court documents filed in Atlanta show.

Hundley’s lawyer said he had been traveling to Atlanta to decide whether to remove his son from life support after being told just 24 hours earlier that he had overdosed on insulin

Hundley’s son was ‘in a coma for life,’ attorney Marcia Shein said in a statement. ‘On the flight, he was in distress, upset and grieving,’ she said.

The boy’s mother, Jessica Bennett of Minneapolis who is white, was seated with her adopted black son, Jonah, when she says Hundley struck her child after using a racial slur directed at them.

‘Shut that n****r baby up,’ he allegedly told the mother while their Delta Airlines flight was descending from Minneapolis into Atlanta. 

Yeah, we can all agree that having to take your child off life-support is a horrible tragedy for any parents to go through, but it’s still no excuse for slapping a baby and using awful slurs while doing so.

The assault charge carries a $100,000 fine and a maximum penalty of a year in jail.

The task of proving his innocence may be difficult for Hundley, according to Bennett family attorney John Thompson, who told ABC that there were numerous witnesses who saw him strike Jonah – including a federal air marshal.

I can’t imagine a parent filled with so much sorrow and anger that they would do something like this. I can see crying in your airplane seat. I can see getting a bit drinky. But considering you just lost your own child wouldn’t that make you more sympathetic to other children and remember how your own kid was at the age of under two? This guy is a jerk. My kids are a lot older than babies now, but if I were a mom this sort of thing would make me so paranoid about flying with a toddler or infant. I can remember being on a flight with my son when he was that age and he cried at landing due to the air-pressure and everyone around us was super sympathetic and kind. But if some old dude raised a hand to him lemme tell you, I would have smacked him in his mouth-hole. And then again for being a racist creep.

(Photo: Facebook)

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  • chickadee

    Most people who are grieving don’t find that spewing racist epithets relieves their sorrow. Unless they are racist a-holes, maybe. His defense is ridiculous and should be useless in excusing his behavior. Who slaps a *baby*? Who thinks that the n-word is appropriate? People who deserve to spend time in jail, apparently.

  • Maybelle

    I’m taking a transatlantic flight in a couple weeks with my 2 kids under 3; knowing how my eldest has reacted to his two previous flights my anxiety was been keeping me up at night already. With people like this out there I’m sure I’ll be in full blown panic attack mode before I get off the ground.

  • daly_beauty

    His child died. If I was that mother, I would go see him, and I would forgive him for his horrible behaviour. Because filling up jails doesn’t make anything better. Being a better person does, and it can be contagious.

    • Ice.The.Queen

      There is nothing in this world that can excuse bad behaviour and treating other humans, let alone a BABY, with disrespect.

    • Alex Lee

      “When I had looked at Jonah’s face, he had, his eye was swollen…and it was bleeding,” Bennett said. “I was just scared to death.”

      And if Jessica Bennett, by some miraculous epiphany, decides to drop the charges against Rickey Handley – as you suggest, how then would that look to the NAACP or the ACLU? A 60 year-old, white, male executive now has free-reign to racially slur and assault the most-vulnerable of minorities without any penalty whatsoever.

      Ideally, your philosophy is valid. But not everyone can be convinced as such. Sometimes, punishments need to be levied – not out of malice – but out of necessity. I hope Rickey does learn to be “a better person” – and if that means going through one year (maximum) of incarceration, then so be it.

    • Eve Vawter


    • daly_beauty

      The US is a very punitive society. I simply can’t relate. Negative reinforcement is completely ineffective, as we all know by now. The noblest vengeance is to forgive. So, there is no context, and that man needs to suffer some more to prove a point, as the death of his child excuses nothing. Not everything is a precedent, and not every injury inflicted means there will be an epidemic. Why so paranoid and angry, US?

    • Eve Vawter

      Even though I disagree, I love me some Jane! Thanks for coming to comment, you have an interesting POV even though I think if it were one of your girls as a baby you would have karate chopped that guy.

    • Tusconian

      If you can’t understand why someone would be angry and paranoid after such a violent attack, especially since historically this type of behavior has been heavily condoned, you are honestly much too privileged and ill-educated to be commenting.

    • Makabit

      He does’t ‘need to suffer more to prove a point’, he’s going to be prosecuted for assaulting a little boy.

      Your condescending address to the ‘US’ is ridiculous, but I’ll speak for the whole nation: we work on a daily basis to heal the bleeding wounds of hundreds of years of brutal institutional racism. I’m glad you’re so forgiving on behalf of small black children who can apparently still be brutalized by any passing drunken white man who is angry or grieving, or merely looking for an outlet for his rage.

      Please note, he didn’t just yell “Shut that fucking kid up,” say, which might have been understandable. He hit an eighteen-month-old after using a word with a hideous history. If you feel that responding to that is useless because, hey, it doesn’t mean shit to you…uh, US doesn’t care.

    • Tinyfaeri

      Not punishing a grown man for slapping a baby, nevermind some of the things he said, doesn’t make anything better, either. I don’t care what anyone’s going through, there is never a reason to slap a baby (any baby). That’s a step beyond horrible.

    • CrazyFor Kate

      I hope the mother forgives him for her own sake. And I hope that they can all heal. But grief – even really recent, raw grief – does not give you carte blanche to be a jerk. I can understand being irritable or angry, maybe even saying something you don’t mean. But racist slurs? And physical assault? Yeah, that goes way beyond even allowances for grieving. Maybe he wouldn’t act that way otherwise, but it’s still not an excuse.

    • Tusconian

      Nope. Nope nope nope. Other people are not around for your personal use as a punching bag, especially someone smaller and less racially privileged than you. The guy had a hard life. Normally, I’d sympathize, but he chose to physically assault an INFANT, mostly because of his skin color. He may have had a hard life or be going through rough times, but he is a horrible human being anyway. People of color are often asked to excuse white people for abusing them terribly because “they were going through things too,” and this situation is twice as bad because, again, it’s a grown ass man assaulting a baby. If he’d said “shut that little brat up,” and left it at that, he would deserve forgiveness and kindness, because that’s what a someone does when they’re drunk and upset. But he chose to ASSAULT ANOTHER HUMAN BEING, AND SPECIFICALLY ONE WHO CAN’T DEFEND HIMSELF, and use racial slurs on a helpless baby.

  • Gloria Fallon

    Wow, what a disgrace. Grieving or not, what he did is inexcusable. I honestly don’t know what I would have done if I saw something like that happen. Awful.

  • Score One

    For the love of God, please tell me you did not use the word ‘drinky’ …..please. There’s no reason to ‘baby talk’ the word drunk.

    • ElleJai

      In this context I would have thought it indicated “drink-like” or “drinking a lot”, as opposed to being “babyish”.

  • Tessa French

    I wish he had cuddled Jonah & remembered what it was like to cuddle his own son.

  • Oz

    Nothing, NOTHING excuses racial abuse and physical abuse of a distressed child.

    With that aside, saying the man should have thought back to when his own son was two, while on his way to make the decision to turn off his son’s life support when just one day earlier he’d been fine, is an ignorant comment to make. Unless it’s happened to you, you have no idea how the man was feeling. He probably hated that child, and everyone under 30, that day for being alive when his own son was going to die.

    It’s a good thing that he is facing the legal ramifications of his actions, and my heart goes out to that poor boy. But don’t try and say that a man experiencing intense grief for the loss of his son should have felt soppy or sympathetic at the sight of a crying child.

  • Valeri Jones

    You know, I was prepared to kinda feel sorry for the old geezer up until he used the dreaded N-word. I know that senior citizens are from a different time. Especially in a small town like ours, I grew up being punished by whomever caught me doing what I wasn’t supposed to be doing. I can remember going and getting my own switches to be whipped by aunts and uncles, even neighbors. And our parents were okay with it because we were expected to respect our elders, no matter what. So by that logic, I can almost – ALMOST – understand him slapping the boy (even though if it were my kid, I’d have probably outright assaulted the man). But then we get to the N-word, and I realize that he probably slapped him not because he was behaving badly, but because the child was black. And then after seeing quotes from the mother in another comment, and how badly he hurt the child… That is absolutely inexcusable. I can almost sympathize with a swat on the leg or a smack on the hand from a stranger… But that kind of abuse? I don’t care WHAT kind of stress that man is under…. There is NO EXCUSE for that. Sounds to me like he is a miserable excuse for a senior citizen. My heart goes out to that mom who has quite a job ahead of her explaining to her child why such shitty people exist in the world.