Derek Chauvin expected to survive stabbing attack in prison, officials say

The former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted of murdering George Floyd and was stabbed in prison by a fellow inmate Friday is expected to survive the attack, officials have told media outlets.

Updates about Derek Chauvin, the wounded convicted killer and ex-cop, were provided to various media outlets – including the Associated Press and Minnesota news station KSTP – by the Minneapolis police chief, Brian O’Hara, as well as a spokesperson for state attorney general Keith Ellison’s office on Saturday.

O’Hara told KSTP that Chauvin was “in stable condition” from what his agency’s “federal law enforcement partners” had reported to him. Meanwhile, Ellison spokesperson Brian Evans said the attorney general’s office had “heard that [Chauvin] is expected to survive”, according to the AP.

The US prisons bureau, which has custody of Chauvin, has only said that an unnamed person incarcerated at a lockup in Tucson was hospitalized after being assaulted Friday afternoon. It has not elaborated, citing safety and privacy concerns.

Chauvin, 47, earned international notoriety after pressing a knee on the neck of Floyd for 9 ½ minutes outside a Minneapolis convenience store on 25 May 2020. Floyd – who is Black – had been suspected of trying to pass a counterfeit $20 bill to the store, prompting a call to police which Chauvin – who is white – answered.

Bystander video captured Floyd, 46, cry out “I can’t breathe” as Chauvin kneeled on his neck, ultimately killing him. Floyd’s death ignited worldwide street protests against police brutality and racism.

Jurors in Minnesota later found Chauvin guilty of a state second-degree murder charge, for which he received a prison sentence of 22 ½ years. He also was ordered to simultaneously serve a 21-year sentence for violating Floyd’s federal civil rights.

Chauvin was serving his punishment at a federal prison in Tucson when another person incarcerated there stabbed him and left him critically wounded about 12.30pm local time Friday, as the Associated Press first reported.

Prison staff performed “life-saving measures” on Chauvin before he was brought to a hospital for treatment, the AP’s reporting indicated.

Staffing shortages and security lapses have plagued the Tucson prison where Chauvin was stabbed. It was the second high-profile stabbing of a federal prisoner since July, when convicted serial sexual abuser Dr Larry Nassar was stabbed by a fellow inmate at a penitentiary in Florida.

Meanwhile, in November of last year, an inmate held in another part of the Tucson prison drew a gun and attempted to shoot a visitor in the head. No one was hurt after the gun, which the inmate shouldn’t have been able to get, misfired.

Lawyers for Chauvin had lobbied to keep him out of the Tucson prison’s general population, arguing that he would be targeted for violence.

Chauvin attorney Gregory Erickson complained to the AP on Saturday that federal prison officials had not been transparent about the previous day’s stabbing, forcing his client’s family to rely on news accounts for updates.

“I view this lack of communication … as completely outrageous,” Erickson said in a statement to the AP. “It appears to be indicative of a poorly run facility and indicates how Derek’s assault was allowed to happen.”

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