Derek Chauvin’s Condition Has Improved After Stabbing: Family

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
December 4, 2023US News
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Derek Chauvin’s Condition Has Improved After Stabbing: Family
In this image from video, former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin listens as the verdict is read in his trial for the 2020 death of George Floyd, at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis, Minn., on April 20, 2021. (Court TV via AP/Pool)

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s condition has improved after he was repeatedly stabbed, family members said in a new update.

Relatives confirmed in a teleconference with Gregory Erickson, a lawyer working with the family, that Mr. Chauvin’s 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,” Mr. Erickson told The Epoch Times via email late on Dec. 3.

Mr. Chauvin was stabbed 22 times by fellow inmate John Turscak the day after Thanksgiving, according to court documents. The attack took place in the law library at the Federal Correctional Institution, Tucson, where both inmates were imprisoned.

Mr. Chauvin, 47, is simultaneously serving a 21-year federal sentence for violating George Floyd’s civil rights and a 22 ½-year state sentence for second-degree murder for the 2020 death of Mr. Floyd. Mr. Turscak, 52, is serving a 30-year sentence for crimes committed while a member of the Mexican Mafia prison gang.

Mr. Turscak was charged by federal prosecutors on Dec. 1 with assault with intent to commit murder and three other counts. According to prosecutors, Mr. Turscak told FBI agents he attacked Mr. Chauvin on the day commonly known as Black Friday to be “symbolic with the Black Lives Matter Movement and the ‘black hand’ symbol associated with the Mexican Mafia criminal organization.”

‘Mystery’ How Attacker Obtained Weapon

Mr. Chauvin has confirmed that he was stabbed by Mr. Turscak, according to the former officer’s family.

“Derek’s family did receive confirmation from Derek himself that the facts contained in the charging document are accurate,” Mr. Erickson said.

Mr. Turscak, who does not have a lawyer listed on the court docket, is accused of using an improvised knife to stab Mr. Chauvin.

“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,” Mr. 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.”

The prison did not return a request for comment. The Bureau of Prisons, which runs the prison, previously said that it “takes seriously our duty to protect the individuals entrusted in our custody, as well as maintain the safety of correctional employees and the community.”

Mr. Chauvin’s mother has not responded to inquiries. She said hours before the charges against Mr. Turscak were revealed that neither the FBI nor the Bureau of Prisons were giving the family answers.

The family is not agreeing to any interviews at this time, their lawyer said.

The FBI did not respond to a request for comment.

The family remains concerned about the capacity of the federal prison in Tucson to protect Mr. Chauvin.

“They remain unassured that any changes have been made to the faulty procedures that allowed Derek’s attack to occur in the first place,” Mr. Erickson said.

Attempts to obtain information about the prison’s procedures have only yielded orders to submit Freedom of Information Act requests, Mr. Erickson said. Those directives are “completely unacceptable in the constantly evolving situation at hand,” he said.

The Epoch Times has submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for information regarding the attack, including any video footage that shows the stabbing.

Attacker’s Previous Charges

In addition to attempted murder, Mr. Turscak was charged with assault with intent to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury. The attempted murder and assault with intent to commit murder charges are each punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Mr. Turscak is scheduled to complete his current sentence in 2026.

After the stabbing, Mr. Turscak was moved to an adjacent federal penitentiary in Tucson, where he remained in custody Friday, inmate records show.

Mr. Turscak led a faction of the Mexican Mafia in the Los Angeles area in the late 1990s and went by the nickname “Stranger,” according to court records. He became an FBI informant in 1997, providing information about the gang and recordings of conversations he had with its members and associates.

The investigation Mr. Turscak was aiding led to more than 40 indictments. But about midway through, the FBI dropped Mr. Turscak as an informant because he was still dealing drugs, extorting money, and authorizing assaults. According to court papers, Mr. Turscak plotted attacks on rival gang members and was accused of attempting to kill a leader of a rival Mexican Mafia faction while also being targeted himself.

Mr. Turscak pleaded guilty in 2001 to racketeering and conspiring to kill a gang rival. He said he thought his cooperation with the FBI would have earned a lighter sentence.

“I didn’t commit those crimes for kicks,” he said, according to news reports about his sentencing. “I did them because I had to if I wanted to stay alive. I told that to the FBI agents and they just said, ‘Do what you have to do.’”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times

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