Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer infamously convicted for the murder of George Floyd, has been seriously injured in a stabbing incident at a federal prison in Arizona. The attack, which took place on Friday at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson, marks a significant moment in the ongoing saga of Chauvin's imprisonment and raises serious questions about prison safety and management.
FCI Tucson, a medium-security facility, has a history of security concerns and staffing issues. The assault on Chauvin occurred amid these challenges, according to a source who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity due to not being authorized to discuss the event publicly.
Following the attack, which took place at approximately 12:30 p.m. local time, the Bureau of Prisons confirmed that an inmate, whom they did not identify, was assaulted and subsequently received life-saving measures by responding staff before being taken to a hospital.
The FBI was notified of the incident, which did not result in employee injuries. As a precaution, housing about 380 inmates, the prison has suspended visiting. Chauvin's lawyers and the FBI have been approached for comments but have not responded.
This stabbing is not an isolated incident in the federal prison system. Just five months ago, Larry Nassar, the disgraced sports doctor, was also attacked in a Florida prison. Furthermore, FCI Tucson itself witnessed a significant security breach over a year ago when an inmate attempted to shoot a visitor with a gun, which should not have been in his possession.
Chauvin, 47, had been transferred to FCI Tucson in August 2022 from a maximum-security Minnesota state prison to serve a 21-year federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights alongside a 22½-year state sentence for second-degree murder.
His attorney, Eric Nelson, had previously expressed concerns about Chauvin’s safety in the general population, citing his high-profile nature and the potential for targeting by other inmates. In Minnesota, Chauvin was primarily held in solitary confinement for his protection.
The U.S. Supreme Court recently dismissed Chauvin's appeal of his murder conviction. Separately, he is attempting to overturn his federal guilty plea, citing new evidence questioning the cause of Floyd's death.
Floyd's Legacy Revisited
The incident comes against the backdrop of George Floyd's death, which had a profound impact on global consciousness regarding police brutality and systemic racism.
The video of Chauvin pressing his knee on Floyd's neck, leading to Floyd's death, sparked worldwide protests and calls for police reform. This latest development in Chauvin’s incarceration adds to the ongoing scrutiny of the federal Bureau of Prisons, particularly following high-profile incidents like Jeffrey Epstein's jail suicide and the assault on Ted Kaczynski.
An AP investigation has exposed significant flaws within the Bureau, including sexual abuse by staff, chronic violence, and severe staffing shortages affecting emergency responses. Bureau of Prisons Director Colette Peters, appointed last year, has pledged to reform the troubled agency and improve transparency.
However, she has faced criticism from lawmakers for perceived delays in responding to inquiries and providing clear information about the Bureau's operations.