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Mike Tyson Won’t Face Charges for Assaulting Fellow Passenger

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Mike Tyson | Image by Leonard Zhukovsky

A California district attorney announced Tuesday that former heavyweight boxing champion, actor, and author Mike Tyson will not face charges for assaulting a fellow airline passenger.

As previously reported by The Dallas Express, on April 20, Tyson boarded a flight at San Francisco International Airport bound for Florida. Witnesses saw him speak with many fans leading up to the incident but eventually declined further requests.


Police say passenger Melvin Townsend took a picture with Tyson and the two seemed to get along before Townsend sat behind Tyson on the flight and continued to pester the retired boxer.

Witnesses report Tyson asked Townsend to relax, but when he continued his unruly behavior, Tyson punched him several times in the face.

Seconds after the altercation, Tyson walked off the plane. Officials treated Townsend for “non-life-threatening injuries,” and San Francisco Police responded.

San Mateo County District Attorney’s office said in a statement that it will not file charges against either party due to “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.”

San Mateo DA Stephen Wagstaffe also told TMZ that neither party was interested in litigation and his office had more severe crimes to prosecute.

Tyson’s legal said in a statement, “[W]e thank San Francisco 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 has been no stranger to controversy in his career. He spent three years in prison after a 1992 conviction for raping an 18-year-old woman, and in 1999, he assaulted two drivers after a motor vehicle accident, spending seven months in prison.

Tyson’s post-boxing activities include appearing in the 2013 film The Hangover Part III, writing several books about his career, and starring as a fictionalized version of himself in an animated series called The Mike Tyson Mysteries.

The news comes after Tyson announced on Monday that he was in preliminary talks with controversial YouTuber Jake Paul to set up an exhibition boxing match.

The news also comes 18 months after “The Lockdown Knockdown,” a November 2020 exhibition fight between Tyson and fellow former world champion boxer Roy Jones Jr.      

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