Derek Chauvin is released from the hospital and is back in prison custody after inmate stabbing attack

Derek Chauvin has returned to prison after the former Minneapolis police officer was stabbed 22 times by a fellow inmate, his attorney said.

Chauvin, who was convicted in the 2020 murder of George Floyd, was allegedly stabbed with an “improvised knife” Nov. 24 while in the law library at Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson, Arizona, by inmate John Turscak, 52, according to a criminal complaint. 

Chauvin’s attorney Gregory M. Erickson, said in a statement Sunday that he spoke with Chauvin’s family Saturday and “they confirmed that this medical condition has improved to the extent that he has been removed from the trauma care facility at a local Tucson hospital and returned to prison custody for his follow up care.”

“His family is very concerned about the facility’s capacity to protect Derek from further harm. They remain unassured that any changes have been made to the faulty procedures that allowed Derek’s attack to occur in the first place,” Erickson added.

Turscak has been charged with attempted murder, assault with intent to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury in connection with the stabbing, according to federal prosecutors. Attorney information for Turscak was not available Monday.

He told federal prosecutors he chose that day to attack Chauvin, the day after Thanksgiving commonly known as “Black Friday,” to symbolize the Black Lives Matter movement and the “black hand” symbol of the Mexican mafia.

Turscak also told corrections officers that he would have killed Chauvin had they not responded to the attack so quickly, according to the criminal complaint.

“Derek’s family did receive confirmation from Derek himself that the facts contained in the charging document are accurate; the attack was made in the law library, where the perpetrator attacked Derek from behind with an improvised knife,” Erickson said.

The attorney echoed Chauvin’s family’s safety concerns about the prison, saying when he tried to get information regarding “changes in the prison’s procedures,” he was told to make a Freedom of Information Act request. 

“It remains a mystery how the perpetrator was able to obtain and possess dangerous materials [that were able to be formed into an improvised knife], and how a guard was unable to reach and apprehend the perpetrator until Derek had been stabbed twenty-two times,” Erickson said. “Why was Derek allowed into the law library without a guard in close enough proximity to stop a possible attack? His family continues to wonder.”

“We will continue to try to ascertain what additional measures are being made to protect Derek and will pursue any avenues available under the law to ensure his continued safety,” he added.

Chauvin is serving a sentence of 22½ years for kneeling on Floyd’s neck for 9½ minutes while the Black man said he couldn’t breathe and went limp. The former officer is simultaneously serving a 21-year federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights and a 22½-year state sentence for second-degree murder.

Marlene Lenthang

Breaking News Reporter

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