Derek Chauvin was stabbed 22 times in federal prison attack, charges say

MINNEAPOLIS — The inmate who stabbed former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in federal prison last week did so 22 times, with an improvised knife, according to recently filed criminal charges. He also admitted to corrections officers that he would have killed Chauvin had they not responded as quickly as they did.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office identified the alleged perpetrator as 52-year-old John Turscak. He now faces charges of attempted murder, assault with intent to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault resulting in serious bodily injury.

Chauvin was badly hurt after he was stabbed in a federal prison one week ago; the charging documents indicate the stabbing happened in the law library at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson, Arizona. Chauvin is currently serving his 22-year-old sentence there. The former police officer was convicted of killing George Floyd during an arrest in May 2020.

A WCCO source earlier this week said that Chauvin was hospitalized following the attack, but was said to be in stable condition.

The Associated Press reports that Turscak told investigators that he attacked Chauvin on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, as a symbolic connection to the Black Lives Matter movement and the “Black Hand” symbol associated with the Mexican Mafia gang, prosecutors said. Turscak is serving a 30-year sentence for crimes committed while a member of that Mexican Mafia gang.

However, in contrast to what corrections officers reported, Turscak told FBI agents that even though he’d been thinking about assaulting Chauvin for a month because he is a high-profile inmate, he denied wanting to kill him.

Derek Chauvin stabbing charges – Dec. 1, 2023 by WCCO – CBS Minnesota on Scribd

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An attorney for Turscak was not listed in court records and Turscak, who has represented himself in numerous court matters from prison, remained in custody on Friday.

Chauvin’s attorney Greg Erickson, who complained over the weekend that his family was not notified of the stabbing until well after the news broke, told WCCO Friday that they were “extremely disappointed they allowed this to happen” and that it was “not shocking” that someone would target Chauvin. Erickson reiterated that the prison should have done more to prevent it from happening.

It’s not clear if Chauvin will now be moved to a different federal prison. During both his federal and state criminal proceedings, Chauvin’s defense attorney asked he be sentenced to a federal prison in or near Minnesota to be closer to his family. Visits at the Tuscon prison are still suspended in the aftermath of the stabbing.

The FBI spearheaded the investigation into the stabbing, and the prosecution is being handled by the U.S. Attorney’s Office district of Arizona in Tucson.

Chauvin is now the second high-profile federal prisoner to be stabbed in recent months, after Larry Nassar, convicted of molesting members of the U.S. women’s national gymnastics team, was stabbed in a Florida federal prison in July.

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