Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis policeman found guilty of murdering George Floyd in 2020, was stabbed on Friday, November 25th, 2023 at a federal prison in Tucson, Arizona. The surprise attack occurred while Chauvin was already serving time for his state murder conviction and federal civil rights violations related to Floyd’s death.
Fellow Inmate Assaults Chauvin, Now in Stable Condition
Authorities have confirmed Chauvin was stabbed inside the prison by another inmate, around 12:30 pm at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson. The facility is a medium-security prison.
The Minnesota Attorney General’s office was promptly notified of the assault and has stated Chauvin is currently in stable condition. Responding prison staff immediately began urgent life-saving interventions on Chauvin before having him transferred to an external hospital for further emergency treatment.
No correctional officers were harmed during the isolated incident. The identity of Chauvin’s attacker has not been publicly provided at this time.
Attorney General Expresses Regret Over Attack
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose office spearheaded Chauvin’s prosecution for Floyd’s murder starting back in 2020, shared his dismay over the breaking news:
“I am deeply saddened to hear Derek Chauvin was the victim of a targeted stabbing attack in prison. While rightly paying his societal debt for his crime, he should not fall prey to vigilante violence like this.”
In April 2021, a Minnesota jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter charges after kneeling on Floyd’s neck for over 9 minutes during a tense arrest captured on video. He was originally sentenced to 22 and a half years in state prison.
Also Serving Federal Time for Depriving Floyd of Civil Rights
In addition to his widely-publicized murder conviction in state court, Chauvin also later plead guilty to federal charges of violating the civil rights of George Floyd. This resulted in an additional 21 years tacked onto his prison stay.
Specifically, Chauvin confessed to unreasonably applying lethal force by pinning down a handcuffed Floyd’s neck under his knee for over nine minutes, while Mr. Floyd begged for relief. Floyd’s death was filmed by a bystander, sparking a societal reckoning on historical racial inequities in America.
Supreme Court Just Rejected State Conviction Appeal
Coinciding the same week as emerging reports of Chauvin’s stabbing, the U.S. Supreme Court also denied consideration of Chauvin’s request to appeal his original conviction over Floyd’s death. Chauvin had questioned in filings whether he received adequate due process.
However, in a rapid ruling, the Supreme Court declined to take up any review of Chauvin’s nearly 22-year state sentence for Floyd’s murder under his knee. The case was rejected without necessitating further briefing or comment.
So while marking nearly the three-year anniversary of initially restraining Floyd, Chauvin also now faces recovery from stab wounds behind bars.
Why Did George Floyd’s Arrest Prove So Consequential?
On May 25th, 2020, George Floyd, age 46, was detained by responding Minneapolis police outside a neighborhood market location over allegedly passing a suspected counterfeit $20 bill inside to purchase items.
Store personnel had summoned law enforcement while an apparently intoxicated Floyd lingered parked outside after the transaction. Bodycam video depicts officers screaming expletives while pulling Floyd from his vehicle. A live video taken by a shocked pedestrian soon depicted officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee forcefully into the neck of the handcuffed, pleading Floyd for over nine straight minutes, resulting in unconsciousness and death.
Floyd’s widely seen agonizing demise under Chauvin’s firm restraint served as a touch-point highlighting questions around not just police brutality, but unresolved issues of racial inequality nationwide. However, his death also triggered dramatic protests and civil unrest ranging from peaceful organized marches to outbreaks of harmful opportunistic rioting and destruction concentrated in numerous American cities over ensuing nights.
Stabbing Sheds Light on Constant Threats Facing Inmates
The recent prison assault inflicted upon a now-infamous Derek Chauvin represents merely the latest example of the innate risks and dangers possibly confronting even the most vilified or reputed U.S. law enforcement figures behind bars.
While the correctional system aims to punish confirmed offenses against society, volatile American jail settings concentrated with violent individuals can perversely enable further organized harassment and vengeance against publicly recognized inmate faces.
As Minnesota’s chief legal authority commented, consistent sentences for relevant crimes should ideally be served to completion without inmates like Chauvin facing score-settling retaliation from fellow prisoners during their stays. Nevertheless, chronically overcrowded U.S. prisons plagued by understaffing, funding gaps, and radically mixed populations pose ever-present hazards to personal safety, order, and humane expectations even during relatively brief incarcerations.
For now, corrections personnel will prioritize monitoring Chauvin’s continued convalescence from the surprise abdominal wounds while serving his lengthy sentence tied to the Memorial Day death of George Floyd – a graphic incident still sparking social reverberations years later across cities nationwide. However, it remains unknown whether Chauvin’s anonymous assailant will himself face any punitive consequences internally or externally for instigating the high-profile attack.