Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson Won’t Face Criminal Charges After Punching ‘Intoxicated’ Passenger on Plane

Viral video footage from April 20 showed Mike Tyson punching a fellow passenger on his JetBlue flight out of San Francisco International Airport

Mike Tyson will not face charges after video footage showing him punching a fellow passenger who Tyson says was “harassing” him on an airplane last month went viral.

The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office confirmed to PEOPLE on Wednesday that they will not file any charges against the retired boxing legend, 55, due to the “circumstances surrounding the confrontation.”

“These include 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 that no charges be filed in this case,” the statement said.

District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe tells PEOPLE that after reviewing video footage and “mixed” reports from the San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) and San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, he concluded that “the victim was intoxicated and instigated the matter.”

“Bottom line, which is most important, is that it’s not a case that belongs in criminal justice,” he adds. “It is quite a Darwinian move to get into the face of a former heavyweight champion of the world. That’s not too bright.”

Mike Tyson


The incident took place April 20 when Tyson was involved in an in-flight altercation with an “aggressive” fellow passenger who he claimed was harassing him on a JetBlue flight out of San Francisco International Airport.

“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 rep for Tyson told PEOPLE in a statement at the time.

In footage obtained by TMZ, Tyson can be seen repeatedly punching the man, who later received medical attention and went to the police. The outlet reported that the boxer walked off the still-grounded plane seconds after the altercation.

The SFPD told PEOPLE that the victim “provided minimal details of the incident and refused to cooperate further with the police investigation,” and both men were released pending further investigation.

At the time of the incident, Tyson was headed to the Benzinga Cannabis Capital Conference in Miami, where he was listed as a keynote speaker after he launched his cannabis brand Tyson 2.0 last year.

Tyson has previously faced legal action for instances of violence, including serving three years in prison after he was convicted of raping 18-year-old Desiree Washington in 1992. He has continually maintained that their sexual encounter was consensual.

The former heavyweight champion served another nine months in prison in 1999 after assaulting two motorists following a traffic accident. He was arrested again in 2009 after an altercation with a photographer at Los Angeles International Airport, although no charges were filed.

Tyson is perhaps most notorious for biting a piece of Evander Holyfield’s right ear off during their 1997 rematch, for which he was subsequently disqualified and temporarily banned from boxing, in addition to facing a $3 million fine.

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