Derek Chauvin Stabbing: Inmate Charged With Attempted Murder

Derek Chauvin Stabbing: Inmate Charged With Attempted Murder

Federal prosecutors accused a prison inmate of stabbing Derek Chauvin 22 times and charged the man with attempted murder on Friday, the U.S. Justice Department said.

Former Minneapolis police officer Chauvin, 47, is serving two sentences for murdering George Floyd and violating his civil rights after he was caught on camera in 2020 kneeling on the handcuffed man’s neck for more than nine minutes as Floyd repeated “I can’t breathe.”

The office of Minnesota’s attorney general previously confirmed to TIME that Chauvin was stabbed and seriously injured at FCI Tucson, a medium-security federal prison in Arizona, on Nov. 24. 

John Turscak, 52, who is identified in prison records as white, stands accused of carrying out the attack. He is currently serving a 30-year sentence for crimes committed as a member of the Mexican Mafia prison gang, the Associated Press reported.

The Justice Department’s new complaint alleges that Turscak stabbed another inmate—identified only as “D.C.”—who was convicted of federal crimes in another district approximately 22 times with an improvised knife in the prison’s law library around 12:30 p.m.

The complaint said that in an interview with FBI agents on Nov. 26, Turscak denied wanting to kill D.C., but said he had been thinking about assaulting him for about a month because he was a “high-profile inmate.” Turscak said he saw his opportunity to attack on Black Friday, which he viewed as symbolic with the Black Lives Matter racial justice movement and the “Black Hand” symbol reportedly associated with the Mexican Mafia criminal organization. The complaint did not elaborate further on Turscak’s comments.

In an email to TIME on Saturday, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said that while it does not discuss specific security practices, the agency “takes seriously” the “duty to protect the individuals entrusted in our custody, as well as maintain the safety of correctional employees and the community.”

“As part of that obligation, we review safety protocols and implement corrective actions when identified as necessary in those reviews to ensure that our mission of operating safe, secure, and humane facilities is fulfilled.”

The murder of Floyd, who was Black, by Chauvin, who is white, reignited Black Lives Matter and sparked the largest racial justice protests across the country since the Civil Rights Movement.

On Friday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Arizona charged Turscak with attempted murder, assault with intent to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury. 

The first two offenses each carry maximum penalties of 20 years in prison. The latter two could lead to up to 10 years in prison. 

Prison records show Tursack has been transferred to USP Tucson, a high-security penitentiary, following the assault on Chauvin.

Former police officer Chauvin arrived at FCI Tucson in August 2022 from a Minnesota state prison, where he was largely held in solitary confinement for his own protection, his attorney wrote in court filings last year.

Chauvin has attempted to appeal his conviction, but the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear his appeal on Nov. 20.

TIME has reached out to the Justice Department and the Minnesota Attorney General’s office for more information.

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