A former gang member, who is currently incarcerated and has previously acted as an FBI informant, was charged on Friday with attempted murder. Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted in the murder of George Floyd, was brutally stabbed by him 22 times in the federal prison attack.
According to reports, the assailant, identified as 52-year-old John Turscak, carried out the attack with an improvised knife in the prison’s law library.
Turscak, who is serving a 30-year sentence for crimes committed while a member of the Mexican Mafia gang, said that the attack was premeditated, driven by Chauvin’s high-profile status as the officer convicted for George Floyd’s death.
Chauvin, who was transferred to the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson, Arizona, was supposed to be serving his sentence in a secure and controlled environment.
When interviewed by FBI agents following the incident, Turscak explained that his attack on Chauvin during Black Friday was meant as a symbolic gesture linking to the Black Lives Matter movement, which gained significant momentum after Floyd’s passing.
He also mentioned the “Black Hand” emblem, commonly associated with the Mexican Mafia, according to statements from the prosecutors.
🚨 BREAKING: The inmate who attacked Derek Chauvin in prison stabbed him 22 times and did it on Black Friday to symbolize the Black Lives Matter movement pic.twitter.com/89DswsEBV7
— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) December 1, 2023
Turscak faces multiple charges including assault with intent to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault causing serious bodily harm. Both the attempted murder charge and the assault with intent to commit murder charge carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison each.
Court records do not list an attorney for Turscak. He has a history of representing himself in various legal proceedings from prison according to the Associated Press. Following the stabbing incident Turscak was transferred to a nearby federal penitentiary in Tucson, where he was still detained as of Friday, according to inmate records.
After the stabbing on Black Friday, Chauvin’s mother Carolyn Pawlenty, was alerted through media reports. She said that she was not contacted by any prison officials.
“How the hell do these news agencies know and his own mother doesn’t even know? And that [prison] has an emergency contact number [for me],” Pawlenty said, adding that she is “worried and scared” about her son’s condition. “I can’t even think what to say. I haven’t been to bed and made a path in my kitchen and living room floor by pacing.”
Chauvin’s attorney, Bill Mohrman, said he attempted to contact the Bureau of Prisons on behalf of his client but has not heard back from the agency.
Gregory M. Erickson, one of Chauvin’s attorneys, slammed the Arizona prison for lack of transparency. “It appears to be indicative of a poorly run facility and indicates how Derek’s assault was allowed to happen,” Erickson said in a statement on Saturday.
“How the family members who are in charge of Derek’s decisions regarding his personal medical care and his emergency contact were not informed after his stabbing further indicates the institution’s poor procedures and lack of institutional control,” he added.
Prison staff were forced to perform life-saving measures before Chauvin was hospitalized, according to the Bureau of Prisons. Chauvin’s condition was since listed as “stable.”
The Supreme court recently refused to hear Chauvin’s appeal of the 2021 conviction, who argued that the jury was biased against him.