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Man charged with slapping toddler now out of a job

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A man charged with slapping a toddler on a Minneapolis-to-Atlanta flight is out of a job, his former employer said Sunday.
Joe Rickey Hundley, 60, of Hayden, Idaho, is no longer an employee of AGC Aerospace and Defense, Composites Group, Daniel Keeney of DPK Public Relations confirmed Sunday night.
Al Haase, president and CEO of AGC, issued a statement early Sunday that, while not referring to Hundley by name, called reports of behavior by one of its executives on recent personal travel “offensive and disturbing” and said he “is no longer employed with the company.” Keeney would not say whether Hundley was fired or resigned. Hundley was president of AGC’s Unitech Composites and Structures unit.
Hundley was charged last week in federal court in Atlanta with simple assault for allegedly slapping the 2-year-old boy during the Feb. 8 flight. His attorney, Marcia Shein, of Decatur, Ga., said Saturday that Hundley will plead not guilty. The charge carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail.
Shein did not immediately return messages seeking comment left Sunday evening by The Associated Press. Hundley does not have a listed phone number.
The boy’s mother, Jessica Bennett, 33, told the FBI their flight was on final descent into Atlanta when her 19-month-old son started to cry due to the altitude change. Hundley “told her to shut that (N-word) baby up,” FBI special agent Daron Cheney said in a sworn statement. She said Hundley then slapped him in the face, scratching the boy below his right eye and causing him to scream even louder.
Bennett told Twin Cities television stations on Saturday that the incident has caused her family a great deal of trauma and that her son, Jonah, had been outgoing but had turned apprehensive of strangers.
Hundley became increasingly obnoxious and appeared intoxicated during the flight and complained that her son was too big to sit on her lap, she said.
“He reeked of alcohol,” Bennett told KARE-TV. “He was belligerent, and I was uncomfortable.”
Bennett said she was shocked by the racial slur she says Hundley used when Jonah started crying.
“And I said, ‘What did you say?’ because I couldn’t believe that he would say that,” she told WCCO-TV. “He fell onto my face and his mouth was in my ear and he said it again but even more hateful. And he’s on my face, so I pushed him away.”
Bennett and her husband are white, while Jonah, whom they adopted, is black.
“We wish to emphasize that the behavior that has been described is contradictory to our values, embarrassing and does not in any way reflect the patriotic character of the men and women of diverse backgrounds who work tirelessly in our business,” Haase said in his statement.

NAACP: Even some in NYPD oppose frisking
NEW YORK (AP) — The head of the NAACP said Sunday that even some members of the New York Police Department oppose the city’s policy of street stops, with mostly minorities being questioned.
Benjamin Jealous, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, told the congregation of the Nazarene Congregational Church in Brooklyn that the civil rights group is hearing from its members who are NYPD officers.
Addressing Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who was not present, “I ask you, before you leave, repair the damage you have done,” Jealous said from the pulpit. “Kids in this city are too afraid of the very people who have sworn to respect and protect them.”
At his State of the City address several days ago, the mayor “felt the need to evangelize what he sees as the value of the stop-and-frisk program,” Jealous said.
He said his speech Sunday was intended as a direct response to the mayor’s “fear-mongering.”
The NYPD’s practice of stopping, questioning and sometimes frisking hundreds of thousands of people on city streets each year has received widespread criticism. Officials say the technique deters crime. Critics say the stops intimidate innocent people and raise issues of racial profiling.
There’s “no statistical relationship between stop-and-frisk and New York City’s steadily dropping crime rate,” said Jealous, adding that there’s “increasing discomfort among the rank-and-file of the NYPD about this policy.”
Police officials did not immediately respond to calls seeking comment on the remarks by Jealous, leader of the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.
But Bloomberg spokesman John McCarthy said that under the mayor and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, New York City is the safest big city in America.
“In New York City fewer young men are being killed or shot and fewer are going to jail than ever before — and that’s a record of accomplishment that we intend to continue until Mike Bloomberg leaves office,” McCarthy said.
As Bloomberg’s third, and last, term nears its end in January, Jealous said he expects the city’s new mayor to oppose stop-and-frisk tactics, along with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The Democrat announced recently that he’s working to help stop the practice.
If the new mayor doesn’t do that, too, Jealous vowed that “we’ll do a lot more than march.”

Appeals court ruling could mean new murder trial
MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — A Muncie man convicted in a 2006 killing could get another trial following a state Court of Appeals ruling.
Thirty-two-year-old James D. Roberson was convicted of murder and sentenced to 55 years in prison in 2007 in the killing of 22-year-old Antron Dushaun Young.
The Star Press reports the court ruled the determination of whether Roberson had acted in “sudden heat” in the 2006 shooting was not fully explained to jurors. It also found jurors had not received an explanation of the process of considering the manslaughter charge the jury could have weighed in the case.
Chief Delaware County trial deputy Eric Hoffman says if the Indiana Supreme Court does not intervene in the case, a local judge would schedule a new trial for Roberson within 30 days.


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