Inmate charged with attempted murder after Derek Chauvin stabbed 22 times

1 December 2023, 22:44

Federal Prisons Chauvin
Federal Prisons Chauvin. Picture: PA

Former police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd.

A former gang member and FBI informant was charged on Friday with attempted murder over the stabbing last week of ex-police officer Derek Chauvin at a federal prison in Arizona.

John Turscak stabbed Chauvin 22 times at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson and said he would have killed Chauvin had officers not responded so quickly, federal prosecutors said.

Turscak, serving a 30-year sentence for crimes committed while a member of the Mexican Mafia gang, told investigators he thought about attacking Chauvin for about a month because the former officer, convicted of murdering George Floyd, is a high-profile inmate, prosecutors said.

Turscak later denied wanting to kill Chauvin, prosecutors said.

Turscak is accused of attacking Chauvin with an improvised knife in the prison’s law library on November 24.

Black Lives Matter protests
George Floyd’s death sparked protests worldwide (Jonathan Brady/PA)

The Bureau of Prisons said employees stopped the attack and performed “life-saving measures”. Chauvin was taken to a hospital for treatment.

Turscak told FBI agents interviewing him after the assault that he attacked Chauvin on Black Friday as a symbolic connection to the Black Lives Matter movement, which garnered widespread support in the wake of Mr Floyd’s death, and the “Black Hand” symbol associated with the Mexican Mafia, prosecutors said.

Turscak, 52, is also charged with assault with intent to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

The attempted murder and assault with intent to commit murder charges are each punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Chauvin, 47, was sent to FCI Tucson from a maximum-security Minnesota state prison in August 2022 to simultaneously serve a 21-year federal sentence for violating Mr Floyd’s civil rights and a 22-and-a-half-year state sentence for second-degree murder.

Chauvin’s lawyer, Eric Nelson, had advocated for keeping him out of the general population and away from other inmates, anticipating he would be a target. In Minnesota, Chauvin was mainly kept in solitary confinement “largely for his own protection”, Mr Nelson wrote in court papers last year.

Mr Floyd, who was black, died on May 25, 2020 after Chauvin, who is white, pressed a knee on his neck for nine and a half minutes on the street outside a convenience store where Mr Floyd was suspected of trying to pass a counterfeit 20 dollar note.

Bystander video captured Mr Floyd’s fading cries of “I can’t breathe”.

His death sparked protests worldwide, some of which turned violent, and forced a national reckoning with police brutality and racism.

By Press Association

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