Authorities will not file criminal charges against former heavyweight champ Mike Tyson after he was recorded on video punching a fellow first-class passenger aboard a plane at San Francisco International Airport last month, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office said it has closed the case and decided against pursuing charges based on “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,” District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe said in a statement.
Representatives for Tyson previously said the boxer was on a flight with “an aggressive passenger who began harassing him and threw a water bottle at him while he was in his seat.”
The April 20 video shows Tyson leaning over the back of his seat repeatedly striking the unidentified man in the head, drawing blood. The footage was first shared by TMZ, which said it was recorded on a Jet Blue plane bound for Florida.
Prior to the physical altercation, the other passenger was seen on the video standing over Tyson’s seat — waving his arms and talking animatedly while the former boxer sits quietly.
Attorneys for Tyson praised the district attorney’s decision in a statement on Tuesday, thanking law enforcement for “careful, diligent and professional work.”
Victim appeared loud, quarrelsome
Another passenger on the flight, Sarah Burchfield, told SFGate that she had seen the man who Tyson punched at an airport bar earlier appearing loud and quarrelsome.
“When I boarded the flight, I thought, ‘Oh, no, that drunk guy is on our flight,”‘ Burchfield told the media outlet.
Since Tyson, 55, retired from boxing, he has worked as an actor, podcaster and cannabis entrepreneur. He was in San Francisco in April for the annual 420 cannabis festival in Golden Gate Park, where he was promoting his cannabis brand Tyson 2.0, SFGate reported.
Tyson became the youngest heavyweight champion in history in 1987 at age 20. During his career he had 50 wins, 44 of them by knockout.
In the 1990s, Tyson served three years in prison after being convicted of rape. He has maintained his innocence in that case.
Tyson was briefly barred from boxing after infamously biting off part of Evander Holyfield’s ear during a fight in 1997.