A former Mexican Mafia member has been charged with stabbing Derek Chauvin 22 times in support of Black Lives Matter.
John Turscak attacked the prisoner on Friday November 24 at around 12:30pm using an “improvised knife” in an Arizona state federal prison library in Tucson, according to the United States District Court File.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons said in a statement published by NBC News that prison officers “initiated life-saving measures for one incarcerated individual", which was later found to be Chauvin.
The statement went on to say that “responding employees isolated and contained the incident and at no time was the public in danger.” Chauvin has now returned to prison, after the attack left him hospitalised and badly injured.
According to the court complaint, Turscak said he did not intend to kill Chauvin, but had planned a month before to attack the inmate on that Black Friday because he was a “high-profile inmate” and the date “was symbolic with the Black Lives Matter movement and the "Black Hand" symbol associated with the Mexican Mafia criminal organization.”
Despite Turscak’s defense, the court said he “with premeditation and malice aforethought, did unlawfully attempt to kill” Chauvin. CBS News released the file which said officers were able to subdue Turscak with pepper spray.
Derek Chauvin (white) was a former Minneapolis police officer who was charged with murdering a black civilian George Floyd in May 2020 by kneeling on his neck.
The court found him guilty in 2021 of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder, second-degree manslaughter, and depriving Mr Floyd of his civil rights.
Mr. Chauvin’s actions led to a nationwide-protests by Black Lives Matter and national riots across the US.
According to the Washington Post, Chauvin’s lawyers had tried to appeal his convictions in October, arguing that the vast media attention on Floyd’s death and on the riots pressured the jury to find the disgraced officer guilty in order to prevent further disorder.
“This was particularly true here when the jurors themselves had a vested interest in finding Mr. Chauvin guilty in order to avoid further rioting in the community in which they lived and the possible threat of physical harm to them or their families,” the petition read.
“Local media saturated the community with literally daily coverage regarding Mr. Chauvin.”
The Minneapolis Court of Appeals rejected Chauvin’s petition for a mistrial; but Mr Chauvin is seeking an independent appeal to overturn his civil rights conviction, claiming that new evidence shows he was not responsible for Floyd’s death.
"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."
In an interview with CNN News on Saturday, Chauvin’s lawyer Greg Erickson told the news outlet he heard of the ex-officer’s injuries over the media and criticised the prison for not getting in contact with either him or Mr. Chauvin’s parents. He said: “I’ve called the prison seven times. They’ve refused to speak to me seven times.”
“It’s unbelievably unprofessional that no one from the prison has reached out to his parents.”
The spokesperson for the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Emery Nelson, told CNN that the warden had suspended visitations until further notice, stating: ““For safety and security reasons, the details supporting a warden’s decision to suspend visitation at their facility are not discussed.”
According to AP News, Chauvin’s former Lawyer, Eric Nelson, said that the ex-police officer was kept away from other prisoners when he was an inmate in Minnesota before he moved to Tucson in August largely “for his own protection”.
Speaking about Chauvin’s attack to KSTP, a branch of ABC News, Chief of Minneapolis Police Brian O'Hara said: "Violence is barbaric and tragic, and should never be cause for celebration.
“Derek Chauvin's conduct on May 25, 2020, was unequivocally criminal and resulted in death.
“Today's news is cause for quiet reflection as the world continues to process, and Minneapolis tries to heal, from very open wounds."
Chauvin’s attacker Turscak has been serving a 30-year prison sentence for crimes he committed whilst he was a member of the Mexican Mafai during the 1990s, Los Angeles Times reported.
According to CBS News, Turscak was responsible for organising "assaults of individuals for infractions of Mexican Mafia rules," and collecting money from drug dealers and street gangs in exchange “ for the Mexican Mafia’s protection and permission to engage in narcotics “trafficking."
According to the Los Angeles Times, Turscak served as an informant for the FBI on the Mexican Mafia in 1997. The FBI, however, later dropped him after the Bureau discovered Turscak was still organising assaults and attacks on local gang members.
The ex-mafia member was convicted in 2001 of conspiring to kill a member of an opposing gang, and said he believed his role as an informant would encourage the court to give him a lighter sentence.
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