A Hayden man has been suspended from work by his employer after an alleged incident on a Delta Air Lines flight in which he is accused of slapping a 2-year-old boy and making a racist comment, an incident that has drawn national and international attention.
Joe Rickey (Rick) Hundley, 60, had been serving as the president of Unitech Composites and Structures in Hayden, a large manufacturer of composite products for aerospace, transportation, military and other applications.
According to a criminal complaint written by an FBI agent and filed in U.S. District Court, in Georgia, Hundley struck the boy whose mother was seated next to Hundley as the plane neared Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on Feb. 8. He also allegedly told the mother to shut that "(N-word)" baby up. Hundley didn't return calls to The Press seeking comment.
The mother of the child, 33-year-old Jessica Bennett of Minneapolis, was trying to quiet her son who began crying because of the change in altitude on Delta Air Lines Flight 721, which was traveling from Minneapolis to Atlanta.
Unitech is part of AGC Aerospace and Defense, a global supplier of technologies, systems and services that support key commercial and military programs.
In a written statement posted on Unitech's website, Al Haase, president and chief executive officer of AGC, acknowledged that authorities are investigating Hundley's alleged behavior. Hundley was traveling for personal reasons, Haase noted.
"The allegations are disturbing and are contradictory to our values," Haase said. "We are taking this matter seriously. In accordance with our company's personal conduct policy, we have suspended (Hundley) pending investigation."
Hundley was charged with simple assault after Bennett told authorities he slapped her crying boy in the face and used a racial slur.
Hundley's attorney, Marcia Shein, said Friday that "it is important to let the case develop."