Joe Rickey Handley was on his way to Atlanta when the 2-year-old boy of the woman sitting next to him started crying violently because of cabin pressure. He slapped the boy and hurled a racist epithet at him, and is now in police custody.
Handley is saying that he only wanted to make the child stop crying, Bossip reports, citing an FBI affidavit.
Several other passengers on the plane confirmed that Handley reeked of alcohol, had had several alcoholic drinks on the plane and was visibly stumbling.
Handley, on the other hand, told police that he was on his way to Atlanta to attend a relative’s funeral and only had one drink because he was so distraught. It’s also because he was distraught that he slapped the child because he would not stop crying.
The boy’s mother told police Handley hit him across the face with an open hand, leaving a scratch under the eye.