SAN FRANCISCO (KRON/WFLA) – We’re learning more about the man who was punched in the face by Mike Tyson several times while on a flight to Florida. Multiple news agencies are reporting that the passenger is 36-year-old Melvin Townsend III.
According to court records, Townsend has multiple felony offenses that he’s been found guilty of. Time will tell if he or Tyson sees jail time over their brawl on a plane.
San Francisco Police were called to the airport Wednesday night around 10:30 p.m. after a fight broke out between heavyweight champ Tyson and the passenger behind him. Both were released by police.
Tyson’s reps responded Thursday with a statement saying the passenger was aggressive, harassed Tyson and threw a water bottle at him. Comparing video capturing the fight on board the JetBlue plane and a 2020 mug shot from the Florida Department of Corrections, it appears that the passenger is Melvin Townsend III of Punta Gorda, Florida.
Court records show that the 36-year-old has been convicted of grand theft, fraud by identity theft, trafficking in stolen property, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of a controlled substance without a prescription. Townsend served jail time twice.
The first stint was for 20 months from 2009 to 2010. The second was from 2019 to 2020 for 15 months.
Tyson also did time in jail. Back in the ’90s, the boxer spent several years in prison for rape. He denies any wrongdoing.
Like many viewers, President of Flyers Rights Paul Hudson watched the video from Wednesday’s incident and was shocked by what he saw. In his opinion, it never should have escalated to a physical altercation.
“There’s a call button right above you. You push the call button. Guess what happens, the flight attendant comes over. They break up the argument. If necessary, they move some of the parties,” Hudson said.
Hudson says the Federal Aviation Administration will have to decide if the “no tolerance for unruly passengers” applies to everyone…celebrities included.
“Interference with flight crew in the air is a federal felony, punishable by up to five years in prison,” said Hudson.
Cpt. Laura Einsetler is a pilot based out of Los Angeles and deals with passengers of celebrity status often. She says crew members, and passengers are expected to act accordingly when a celebrity is on board.
“We would ask the other passengers to please be respectful of that celebrity passenger, because they are people as well and they need to get where they are going and they’re focused on what they need to be focused on and what they’re thinking,” Einsetler said.
The video of the fight between Tyson and Townsend is under investigation by the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office. San Mateo District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe says his office has not received any police reports of the investigation and no charges have been filed.