Mike Tyson Won't Face Charges Over Plane Punches

Boxing legend hit a fellow passenger who wouldn't stop badgering him
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2022 5:30 AM CDT
Updated May 10, 2022 1:18 PM CDT
Guy Tyson Allegedly Punched Was a 'Habitual Felony Offender'
In this Aug. 2, 2019 photo, Mike Tyson attends a celebrity golf tournament in Dana Point, Calif.   (Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)

(Newser) Update: Mike Tyson won't face charges for punching a fellow passenger on a recent flight, reports TMZ. The San Mateo County District Attorney's office in California says it's dropping the case based on "the conduct of the victim leading up to the incident, the interaction between Mr. Tyson and the victim, as well as the requests of both the victim and Mr. Tyson." The boxer's reps say the other man wouldn't stop pestering Tyson despite multiple requests and even threw a water bottle at him. Our story from April 22 follows:

The airplane passenger Mike Tyson allegedly punched Wednesday night was, in 2019, listed as having "habitual felony offender status." Florida man Melvin Townsend III, 36, has a long criminal history including a grand theft conviction for which he received 25 months behind bars in 2019, when he was listed as a habitual offender. Other convictions include fraud by identity theft, trafficking stolen property, use or possession of drug paraphernalia, and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, USA Today reports. Video of the JetBlue flight from San Francisco to Miami showed Townsend allegedly bothering Tyson until the former boxing champion punched him.

"Unfortunately, Mr. Tyson had an incident on a flight with an aggressive passenger who began harassing him and threw a water bottle at him while he was in his seat," Tyson's rep says. Authorities briefly detained and then released two people after the incident, one of whom was treated for non-life-threatening injuries and who then refused to cooperate with the police investigation, which is still underway, the BBC reports. Townsend declined to press charges but has hired a lawyer, suggesting a lawsuit might be coming, TMZ reports. "Our client denies throwing a water bottle prior to being struck by Mr. Tyson," the attorney tells the gossip site. "Mr. Tyson clearly became agitated by an overly excited fan and began to strike him in an excessive manner." (Read more Mike Tyson stories.)

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