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Passenger punched by Mike Tyson identified as Florida man with a long criminal record

Source: Florida Department of Corrections/Twitter

Jessica Schladebeck

New York Daily News

The Jet Blue passenger punched by Mike Tyson in a mid-air outburst has been identified as a Florida man with a criminal history.

The retired heavyweight boxer was traveling from San Francisco to Miami on Wednesday night when the altercation unfolded. Video taken inside the plane around 10 p.m. shows Tyson turning around in his seat and wailing on a man identified by TMZ as Melvin Townsend, III.

Townsend, reportedly intoxicated at the time, sought out a selfie from the 55-year-old fighter, but continued to chatter on, even after the photo was snapped. Tyson’s reps in a statement claimed Townsend at one point threw a water bottle at the athlete, triggering the violence.

When the flight touched down in Miami just before 7 a.m., authorities were already awaiting the men on the tarmac. Townsend told authorities he did not wish to press charges against Tyson and both were free to go.

Townsend’s interactions with police earlier this week are far from his first encounter with authorities, TMZ reported on Friday.

In 2018, the 36-year-old trespassed and then stole a trailer by hitching it to his pickup truck. His criminal history also includes fraud, grand theft, burglary, trafficking in stolen property, and possession of controlled substances, which was for oxycodone.

Townsend has also reportedly served time behind bars on two separate occasions — the first was a 20-month stint while the second lasted 15 months.

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