MINNEAPOLIS — Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was stabbed and seriously injured Friday by a fellow inmate at an Arizona federal prison where he's serving time for the murder of George Floyd.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison told The Minneapolis Star Tribune Friday night that he was notified that Chauvin had been stabbed but survived and was in stable condition.
"I am sad to hear that Derek Chauvin was the target of violence," Ellison said. "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."
The Federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed in a statement that "an incarcerated individual was assaulted" at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson at about 12:30 p.m. on Friday. The agency did not identify the individual. The Associated Press first reported that Chauvin was the one attacked.
The individual was then transported to a local hospital for further treatment and evaluation, the bureau said.
A spokesman for the Minneapolis Police Department told the Star Tribune on Friday night that Chief Brian O'Hara had been briefed on the assault but offered no other details.
Chauvin, 47, has been serving a 21-year federal sentence for violating Floyd's civil rights and a 221/2-year state sentence for second-degree murder. Floyd's death while pinned under Chauvin's knee at the corner of Chicago Avenue and 38th Street in south Minneapolis in May 2020 triggered days of massive protests locally and drew international outrage. Chauvin was convicted of the state murder charge in April 2021.
Chauvin's attorney long advocated for separating him from the general population to protect his safety. He was kept in solitary confinement for more than six months while incarcerated at Oak Park Heights prison, Minnesota's high-security prison, where he awaited sentencing. It's not clear how long Chauvin remained in solitary after being transferred to federal facilities out of state.
"Violence is barbaric and tragic, and should never be cause for celebration," O'Hara said in a statement after being briefed on the assault. "Today's news is cause for quiet reflection while the world continues to process the trauma of George Floyd's murder. It is clear that this still reverberates with the people of Minneapolis and their police."
Chauvin's current attorney, William Mohrman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A staffer at the office of attorney Eric Nelson, who represented Chauvin at trial, declined to comment.
The assault came a week after the premiere of Alpha News' documentary, "The Fall of Minneapolis," which questions the prevailing media narrative of Floyd's murder and attempts to garner sympathy for the four officers involved. The 102-minute film includes interviews with Chauvin and rookie Alexander Kueng, who was also convicted in Floyd's death.
"At the end of the day, the whole trial including sentencing was a sham," Chauvin told Alpha News during a phone interview from prison.
"He had a fair trial and the whole world saw it," Ellison said in response to that.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected Chauvin's latest attempt to vacate his murder conviction by declining to hear the case. Last week, Chauvin separately argued in court filings that he would not have pleaded guilty in his federal case if Nelson, his then-attorney, had informed him that a pathologist offered to testify that Chauvin didn't cause Floyd's death.
The Hennepin County Medical Examiner ruled Floyd's death a homicide after he had cardiac arrest likely caused by the restraint. Doctors hired by Floyd's family said they believe he died of asphyxia. Chauvin's defense argued at trial that Floyd died of natural causes related to drug use.
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