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Stranger slaps toddler during flight

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Updated: 2/18/2013 3:59 pm
(KARE) The family of a Minnesota boy allegedly slapped by a fellow passenger on a flight to to Atlanta is speaking out.

"I could not believe he would say that and then hit him," said Jessica Bennett. "I felt like i was in another world. I was shaking."

The 19-month-old boy's mother, Jessica Bennett, said the shocking incident has caused a great deal of emotional trauma for the entire family.

The incident allegedly happened February 8 while Bennett and her son were on a Delta flight from Minneapolis to Atlanta. Bennett says the man sitting next to her, Joe Rickey Hundley of Hayden, Idaho, became increasingly obnoxious and appeared intoxicated during the flight.

"He reeked of alcohol," recalls Bennett. "He was belligerent and I was uncomfortable."

As the plane descended to land in Atlanta, Bennett said her son started crying due to the pressure change. According to court documents, Bennett alleges Hundley leaned over and said, "Shut that [N-word] baby up!" before slapping the child near the boy's eye. Bennett said the slap caused her son to bleed and cry even harder.

"[Joe] Hundley's comments were racist and hateful," said Bennett in a statment released by the family. "We have numerous questions about how a passenger could get so violently out of control as to assault a toddler."

-- Dave Berggren reports

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