Mike Tyson is not returning to prison.
San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen M. Wagstaffe has announced the former heavyweight champion will not face charges after he was seen attacking an overzealous fan aboard a taxiing airplane in California last month.
As Wagstaffe told TMZ, his office declined to file charges because of ‘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.’
In a video that ultimately went viral, Tyson was seen punching a man repeatedly aboard a Florida-bound airplane on April 20 and leaving him with cuts on his forehead. The victim, later identified as 36-year-old Melvin George Townsend III, allegedly threw a bottle at Tyson and had been seen pestering the 55-year-old boxing legend prior to take off.
Through his attorney, Townsend denied throwing a bottle at Tyson and blamed the incident on being ‘overly excited.’
Wagstaffe told TMZ that neither Townsend nor Tyson wanted to go to court over the matter, adding that his office has more serious cases to pursue.
Wagstaffe’s office did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
‘We thank San Mateo District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe, the San Mateo County Sheriff, and all law enforcement agencies involved in this investigation for their careful, diligent, and professional work,’ Tyson’s attorneys told TMZ.
Mike Tyson (pictured at Saturday’s light heavyweight title fight between Canelo Alvarez and Dmitry Bivol) will not face charges for pummeling a JetBlue passenger last month
In a video that ultimately went viral, Tyson was seen punching a man repeatedly aboard a Florida-bound airplane on April 20 and leaving him with cuts on his forehead. The victim, later identified as 36-year-old Melvin George Townsend III, allegedly threw a bottle at Tyson and had been seen pestering the 55-year-old boxing legend prior to take off
Another video from the flight shows the aftermath of the incident, with Townsend sporting traces of blood on his forehead
Video of the incident shows Tyson punching Townsend before the JetBlue flight had taken off from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale, leaving the Florida man with a bloody forehead.
Townsend initially had a cordial exchange with Tyson, according to TMZ. A witness says he and a friend greeted the 55-year-old boxing legend as they boarded the plane and even got their picture taken with Tyson.
Tyson soon grew tired of engaging with Townsend and reportedly asked him to be quiet. When Townsend continued talking, Tyson reportedly then stood, turned, and threw several punches to his face and forehead.
‘Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey Mike, come on, stop that,’ a witness is heard saying on the cell phone footage.
Another video from the flight shows the aftermath of the incident, with Townsend sporting traces of blood on his forehead.
‘My boy just got beat up by Mike Tyson,’ said the man shooting the video. ‘Yeah, he got f***ed up. Just trying to ask for an autograph. I don’t know what happened.’
A representative for the Brooklyn-born boxer later claimed he was reacting to Townsend, an unruly passenger who had been harassing him and actually threw a water bottle at Tyson.
‘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,’ a representative for Tyson told DailyMail.com in an email.
Townsend, through his attorney, denied throwing a water bottle.
‘Our client is a big Mike Tyson fan,’ Morgan told TMZ. ‘When Mike Tyson boarded the plane, he became overly excited. At first, their interaction was cordial.
‘At a certain point, Mr. Tyson clearly became agitated by an overly excited fan and began to strike him in an excessive manner,’ Morgan continued. ‘This situation could have been avoided simply by contacting the flight attendant. Our client denies throwing a water bottle prior to being struck by Mr. Tyson.’
San Francisco police did detain two individuals from the April 20 flight, but declined to identify either. They did pass along the video to San Mateo County police, who are now declining to press charges.
‘On Wednesday April 20, 2022, at approximately 10:06 p.m., San Francisco Police officers assigned to the SFPD Airport Bureau were dispatched to a physical altercation onboard an airplane located at the Domestic Terminal of the San Francisco International Airport,’ read a San Francisco police statement provided to DailyMail.com.
‘Officers arrived and detained two subjects that were believed to be involved in the incident. One subject was treated at the scene for non-life-threatening injuries. That subject provided minimal details of the incident and refused to cooperate further with the police investigation. Both subjects were released under 849(b) of the California Penal Code pending further investigation.
‘The SFPD is aware of video that possibly captured the incident, which surfaced following the initial investigation. That video has been forwarded to the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, which has investigative jurisdiction on this incident.’
JetBlue did not respond to requests for comment.
Like Tyson, who served nearly three years in an Indiana prison after being convicted of rape in 1992, Townsend has his own criminal record.
The native of Punta Gorda, Florida has served 20- and 15-month prison sentences for a variety of crimes, including possession of Oxycodone, burglary, grand theft, fraud, and trafficking stolen property, according to a records search. In one 2018 incident he stole a trailer by trespassing and hitching the unit to his pickup, reported TMZ, which was the first media outlet to identify him.
Townsend was last released from a Florida prison in July of 2020 after serving 15 months of a 25-month sentence for that incident and his use of a fraudulent personal ID. He previously did time for trafficking stolen property in 2009 and 2010.
The altercation came after a long day of pot smoking for Tyson, who was seen celebrating the pot-themed 4/20 holiday on San Francisco’s Hippie Hill on Wednesday.
Tyson maintained his festive mood on his way out of town, too, as witnessed by Bay Area-photographer Josh Edelson, who was arriving at San Francisco’s airport after a trip to Italy. Edelson approached Tyson roughly an hour-and-a-half before Tyson’s incident on the JetBlue flight.
‘When we walked out of the airport, I turned to my wife, like, ”Oh my God, that’s Mike Tyson right there,”’ Edelson told DailyMail.com.
‘So I went up to him and was like, ”Mike do you mind if I get a picture with you real quick?” And he responded with, ‘I don’t give a f***,’ and then he took a huge toke of his joint.
‘I went and took a picture with him, and he took another big toke and said ”goodbye” to his driver, who I assume drove him there from Hippie Hill or wherever he came from in San Francisco,’ Edelson continued. ‘And that was pretty much it. I didn’t really think very much of it. Then I left and went home, and then woke up this morning, and as it turns out, he was just arriving to go fly home or [Fort Lauderdale.]’
According to Edelson, Tyson appeared to be in a peaceful mood before boarding his redeye flight to Florida.
‘He was really chill,’ Edelson said. ‘He seemed overall happy. He obviously was smoking, was having a good time and seemed to be in a really good mood.’