CRIME

Derek Chauvin, former officer convicted in George Floyd’s killing, stabbed in prison, authorities say

Nov 25, 2023, 4:26 PM

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin addresses court in Minneapolis on June 25, 2021.
(C...

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin addresses court in Minneapolis on June 25, 2021. (Court TV, Pool/AP)

(Court TV, Pool/AP)

(CNN) — Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted in the 2020 murder of George Floyd, was stabbed Friday in a federal prison in Arizona, the office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison has confirmed.

The attorney general’s office, which prosecuted Chauvin in the Floyd case, said early Saturday it was notified of the assault and was told Chauvin is in stable condition.

“I am sad to hear that Derek Chauvin was the target of violence,” Ellison said, according to the statement provided to CNN. “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.”

An “incarcerated individual” was assaulted at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson at approximately 12:30 p.m., the Bureau of Prisons said Friday.

“Responding employees initiated life-saving measures for one incarcerated individual,” and that person was transferred to a hospital for treatment, the bureau said in a release. “No employees were injured during the incident,” the release said.

The stabbing was first reported by The Associated Press and then The New York Times.

Visitation at the prison was suspended starting Saturday “until further notice,” Federal Bureau of Prisons spokesperson Emery Nelson told CNN.

When CNN asked if the visitation suspension was connected with an inmate being attacked at the facility, Nelson said, “For safety and security reasons, the details supporting a warden’s decision to suspend visitation at their facility are not discussed.”

Chauvin was assaulted at the medium-security prison while serving two concurrent sentences in Floyd’s murder.

Greg Erickson, Chauvin’s attorney, said he only learned about the assault through the media and has since attempted to reach prison officials multiple times to confirm the news, only to be rebuffed.

“I’ve called the prison seven times. They’ve refused to speak to me seven times,” Erickson told CNN in an interview Saturday afternoon.

Erickson said Chauvin’s parents have also not been able to reach him. “It’s unbelievably unprofessional that no one from the prison has reached out to his parents,” he added.

In April 2021, Chauvin was convicted on state charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. He was sentenced to 22 and a half years in prison. Months later, Chauvin pleaded guilty to federal charges of depriving Floyd of his civil rights and was sentenced to 21 years in prison.

Chauvin, who is White, knelt on Floyd’s neck and back for more than 9 minutes on May 25, 2020, after officers responded to reports suspecting Floyd used a counterfeit $20 at a Minneapolis corner store. Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, was handcuffed and lying face down on a street as he pleaded he couldn’t breathe.

Floyd’s killing sparked massive racial injustice protests across the nation and around the world over the way police treat people of color, particularly Black Americans in the US. An investigation by the Minnesota Department of Human Rights revealed that Minneapolis and its police department engaged in “a pattern or practice of race discrimination,” according to a 2022 report.

Erickson said Chauvin’s notoriety makes him a target in prison. “There’s a huge portion of the inmate population that wants to make a name for themselves by killing him,” he said.

Earlier this week, the US Supreme Court rejected an appeal from Chauvin on his state conviction after he argued he didn’t receive a fair trial. The high court rejected Chauvin’s appeal without comment or a recorded vote.

Clarification: This story was updated to clarify the stabbing of Derek Chauvin was first reported by The Associated Press and then The New York Times. The Minnesota Attorney General’s Office confirmed the assault to CNN.

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Derek Chauvin, former officer convicted in George Floyd’s killing, stabbed in prison, authorities say