Melvin Townsend, the man who made the news last year after Mike Tyson was filmed punching him while on board a plane, wants the former boxer to pay him $450,000 to cater to his legal bills and future treatment for the injuries he reportedly suffered from the said attack, per TMZ.
As previously reported by Face2Face Africa, the April 2022 incident happened on a JetBlue flight that was preparing to take off for Florida from the San Francisco International Airport. Townsend’s lawyer, Jake Jondle, told the news outlet that his client has since been suffering from injuries including concussion, cervical radiculopathy, and impaired vision.
“Not only is the evidence clear that Mr. Tyson committed the intentional torts of assault and battery, but he also acted recklessly and negligently,” Jondle said in a statement. “Additionally, Mr. Tyson admitted on national television to attacking Mr. Townsend and never once claimed a legal justification for his actions, such as self-defense. He admitted he should not have attacked Mr. Townsend. Being irritated by a fan is not a legal defense to any of Mr. Townsend’s claims.”
The pre-litigation letter was sent to Tyson’s lawyer Alex Spiro last week. Jondle said they want to “engage in good-faith settlement discussions to attempt to resolve this claim prior to filing a lawsuit.”
Jondle in the document also said Tyson could have chosen other alternatives to de-escalate the situation, adding that the former world heavyweight champion “chose physical violence” and “viciously assaulted” his client.
A passenger who witnessed the incident said Townsend was seated behind the former boxer on the plane. And though Tyson was initially friendly with him, he lost his cool after Townsend did not stop trying to talk to him. That was after Tyson told him to relax, TMZ reported.
Sources close to the boxer also told the news outlet that Townsend was heavily drunk and kept provoking Tyson prior to the attack. But Jondle claimed his client was “excited to see [Tyson] on the flight, began discussing the marijuana industry and psychedelic mushrooms with him, and Mr. Tyson became annoyed” and allegedly punched him.
Jondle claimed Townsend suffered a “severe headache” and neck pain, adding that his client “is still suffering with the effects of the assault to this day.”
But Spiro said no money will be paid to Townsend. “I have received a shakedown letter related to some instigator’s harassment of Mike a year ago and the aftermath,” said Spiro in a statement. “There will be no shakedown payment.”