Stephen M. Wagstaffe, San Mateo County District Attorney, has said that the former heavyweight champion won’t face any charges following an attack on a fan last month aboard a taxiing plane in California.
TMZ Wagstaffe stated that his office did not file charges due to ‘the conduct by the victim leading to the incident, Mr. Tyson’s interaction with the victim, and the requests of both Mr. Tyson.’
Tyson was shown punching a man on a Florida-bound plane on April 20, leaving him with severe forehead injuries. According to later identification, the victim was 36-year old Melvin George Townsend III. He allegedly threw his bottle at Tyson, and had been pestering the 55 year-old boxing star before takeoff.
Townsend, through his attorney, denied that he threw a bottle at Tyson. He also blamed Tyson for being too excited.
Wagstaffe stated to TMZ that neither Tyson nor Townsend wanted to go to Court over the matter and that his office had more serious cases to pursue.
DailyMail.com reached out to Wagstaffe’s offices but they did not respond immediately.
‘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.
Video Credit: Lieutenant’s Loft MMA
The incident was captured on video and shows Tyson punching Townsend just before the JetBlue flight took off from San Francisco to Fort Lauderdale. This left Townsend with a bruised forehead.
According to TMZ, Townsend had an initial cordial exchange with Tyson. Witnesses claim that Townsend and his friend met Tyson at the airport and had their pictures taken together.
Tyson began to get tired of Townsend’s conversation and asked him to stop talking. Tyson then reportedly stood up and turned his head, throwing several punches at Townsend’s forehead and face.
‘Hey, hey, hey, hey, hey Mike, come on, stop that,’ a witness is heard saying on the cell phone footage.
‘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.
‘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.
Like Tyson, who served nearly three years in an Indiana prison after being convicted of rape in 1992, Townsend has his own criminal record.
‘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.]’
Featured Image Credit: Mike Tyson (left, getty images), Melvin Townsend III (right, Florida Dept. of Corrections)