Mike Tyson Escapes Charges For Punching Fan On Airplane

Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson won’t face criminal charges for repeatedly punching a man aboard a JetBlue on April 20. 

A Video of the incident published by TMZ shows Tyson throwing punches at a man while on a plane leaving San Francisco. 

According to Tyson’s representatives, Melvin Townsend III, who was intoxicated at the time, was allegedly spewing rude remarks at passengers boarding the plane. Townsend later threw a plastic water bottle at Tyson, who was sitting right in front of him. 

Townsend’s attorney Matt Morgan told TMZ that Townsend denies throwing a water bottle at Tyson.

According to TMZ, Townsend has a lengthy criminal record prior to the incident with Tyson in April. He’s been convicted of fraud, grand theft, burglary, drug possession, and trafficking in stolen property. 

San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe told TMZ that his office has decided to dismiss the case because of Townsend’s conduct and intoxication. Wagstaffe later explained that neither Townsend nor Tyson wanted the incident to end up in court.

“This case doesn’t belong in criminal justice,” Wagstaffe told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday. “If the parties want to file a civil suit, that can still happen irrespective of this decision” 

Tyson’s lawyers acknowledged the news by releasing a statement Tuesday thanking the District Attorney and the involved law-enforcement agencies “for their careful, diligent, and professional work.”

Since Tyson, 55, retired from boxing, he has worked as an actor, and cannabis entrepreneur. He was in San Francisco in April for the annual 4/20 cannabis festival in Golden Gate Park, where he was promoting his cannabis line called Tyson 2.0. Tyson had also been endorsing a social-media app called Relevnt, and had been scheduled to explore topics such as business, history, weed, sports, and social topics.  

Tyson was named the youngest heavyweight champion in boxing history at the age of 20 in 1987. Overall, he had 50 wins, and 44 of those wins were by knockout. 

Throughout the 1990’s, Tyson served three years in prison after being convicted of rape, though he maintained his innoncence throughout the case. Tyson was also briefly banned from boxing after biting off a part of Evander Holyfield’s ear during an infamous fight in 1997.

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