The man who was punched by Mike Tyson after allegedly harassing the boxing legend aboard a JetBlue airplane at the San Francisco Airport has been identified – and he has a lengthy criminal record.
Melvin George Townsend III, 36, 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 it 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.
Townsend does have a lawyer, although he has yet to sue the 55-year-old Tyson.
‘To state the obvious, as one of the greatest fighters of all time, Mr. Tyson should have exercised greater restraint before using his hands on an overly excited fan,’ Townsend’s attorney, Matt Morgan, told TMZ.
Townsend is ‘still in shock,’ according to Morgan, who left open the possibility of a lawsuit.
‘[Townsend has] not made a determination on what his next steps will be. He hired counsel due to his physical injuries, the overwhelming nature of this event and the associated media inquiries.’
Video from Wednesday’s assault 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.
However, a representative for the Brooklyn-born boxer claims 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, is denying throwing a water bottle.
The man who was punched by Mike Tyson after allegedly harassing the boxing legend aboard a JetBlue airplane at the San Francisco Airport has been identified – and he has a lengthy criminal record. Melvin George Townsend III of Punta Gorda, Florida , has 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
Mike Tyson is seen in Miami Beach, Leaving Eden Rock Hotel, where he got a pat on the back from one of the establishment’s employees (right)
On Friday, Tyson was seen leaving the Eden Rock Hotel, where he was ushered into a waiting car. He had been scheduled to attend the Benzinga Cannabis Conference in South Florida
Townsend has served 20- and 15-month prison sentences for crimes including grand theft
Another video from the flight shows the aftermath of the incident, with the man sporting traces of blood on his forehead
Mike Tyson was seen repeatedly a punching a fellow passenger on a flight from San Francisco to Florida on Wednesday night, leaving the man with a bloodied forehead
‘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 flight, but declined to identify either. They did pass along the video to San Mateo County police, who have yet to respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
‘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 has not responded to repeated requests for comment.
Following Wednesday’s altercation, Townsend’s identity slowly began leaking on social media
The violent altercation was first reported by TMZ on Thursday.
Cell phone footage shows the former heavyweight champion smacking the allegedly Townsend seated directly behind him.
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.
The cell phone video did not include footage of Townsend throwing a water bottle at Tyson.
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.’
Mike Tyson was seen enjoying the good vibes and marijuana that the 4/20 holiday brings just hours before repeatedly a punching a fellow passenger on a plane at the San Francisco airport Wednesday night, leaving the man with a bloody forehead
Tyson appears well and enjoying the vibes of the famous 4/20 holiday
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.’
Then, before boarding his flight, he was seen at the San Francisco airport by Bay Area-photographer Josh Edelson, who was returning with his wife from a trip to Italy