Ex-officer Derek Chauvin, convicted in George Floyd’s murder, stabbed in prison

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin received hospital treatment for injuries after another inmate stabbed him in federal prison, authorities said.

Chauvin was seriously injured Friday when another inmate attacked him at an Arizona facility where he’s serving murder sentences in the killing of George Floyd, who died after Chauvin knelt on his neck on a Minneapolis street corner in May 2020.

On Saturday, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said Chauvin was the target of violence at Tucson’s Federal Corrections Institution and condemned the stabbing.

“He was duly convicted of his crimes and, like any incarcerated individual, he should be able to serve his sentence without fear of retaliation or violence,” Ellison said in a statement to USA TODAY.

The Bureau of Prisons said in a statement that prison staff “contained the incident” and performed “life-saving measures” on the victim, who was later taken to a hospital for treatment and evaluation, the bureau said in the statement.

Related:Supreme Court declines appeal from Derek Chauvin to review conviction in George Floyd murder

In April 2021, Chauvin was convicted of state murder charges in Floyd’s killing and sentenced to 22.5 years in prison. Later, a federal judge gave him another 21-year sentence after he pleaded guilty to violating Floyd’s constitutional rights when he knelt on top of Floyd’s neck as he lay on a Minneapolis sidewalk in May 2020.

A teenager’s video footage of Floyd struggling to breath beneath Chauvin’s knee sparked weeks of nationwide mass protests in the summer of 2020 and reignited the Black Lives Matter social justice movement.

Chauvin’s lawyers had appealed his second-degree murder charges, arguing publicity and fear of potential violence in the event of an acquittal denied him a fair trial in 2021. Just this week, the U.S. Supreme Court denied Chauvin’s appeal.

After Chauvin’s convictions, he served in a Minnesota state prison and was mainly kept in solitary confinement “largely for his own protection,” his lawyer, Eric Nelson, wrote in court papers last year. He was transferred to the Tucson facility in August 2022.

Chauvin’s lawyer did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The medium-security prison in Tucson has been plagued by security lapses and staff shortages. In November 2022, an inmate at the facility’s low-security prison camp pulled out a gun and attempted to shoot a visitor in the head. The weapon, which the inmate shouldn’t have had, misfired and no one was hurt.

Chauvin joins list of high-profile prison deaths

Friday’s incident at Tucson’s Federal Correctional Institution is one of several high-profile examples of prison violence this year.

In June, the Department of Justice reported rampant safety problems at Bureau of Prisons facilities, including staff shortages. Longstanding challenges detailed in the report “negatively affect the BOP’s ability to operate its institutions safely and securely,” the department said.

There have also been other high-profile cases of prison deaths in recent years.

In July, Larry Nassar, the ex-USA gymnastics doctor, was stabbed by another inmate at a Florida state prison, where he is serving a decades-long sentence for sexually abusing young female athletes. In 2018, Nassar’s lawyers said he was attacked while serving time at the U.S. Penitentiary-Tucson, part of the same prison complex where Chauvin was stabbed.

In 2018, the Boston mob boss James “Whitey” Bulger was found dead in his cell less than 12 hours after being transferred from a Florida facility to the U.S. Penitentiary at Hazelton in West Virginia. The gang leader’s dual role as an FBI informant made him an instant target, and ahead of his arrival at Hazelton, inmates were taking bets on how long Bulger would survive in the same place inhabited by rival organized crime offenders, a federal investigation found.

Contributing: John Fritze, Kevin Johnson, Grace Hauck, Ella Lee, Bart Jansen, Doug Stanglin, Kevin McCoy, Steve Gardner, Nancy Armoud, USA TODAY; Associated Press


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