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Ex-police officer convicted in George Floyd’s killing is stabbed in prison

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd, was stabbed by another inmate and seriously injured at a federal prison in Arizona (Court TV via AP, Pool, File)
Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd, was stabbed by another inmate and seriously injured at a federal prison in Arizona (Court TV via AP, Pool, File)

Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd, has been seriously injured in a stabbing by another inmate at a federal prison in Arizona.

A source told the Associated Press the attack happened at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson, a medium-security prison that has been plagued by security lapses and staffing shortages.

The US bureau of prisons confirmed an inmate was assaulted at FCI Tucson at around 12.30pm local time on Friday.

In a statement, the agency said prison staff contained the incident and performed “life-saving measures” before the inmate, who it did not name, was taken to a hospital for further treatment and evaluation.

No employees were injured and the FBI was notified, the bureau of prisons said with visiting at the facility, which has about 380 inmates, suspended.

Neither Chauvin’s lawyers nor the FBI have responded to requests for comment.

Minnesota’s attorney general denounced the prison attack, saying the former Minneapolis police officer should be able to serve his sentence without fear of violence.

Chauvin, 47, was sent to FCI Tucson from a maximum-security Minnesota state prison in August 2022 to simultaneously serve a 21-year federal sentence for violating Mr Floyd’s civil rights and a 22-year state sentence for second-degree murder.

His lawyer Eric Nelson had advocated for keeping him away from other inmates, anticipating he would be a target. In Minnesota, Chauvin was mainly kept in solitary confinement “largely for his own protection”, Mr Nelson wrote in court papers last year.

On Saturday, Brian Evans, a spokesman for the Minnesota attorney general’s office, said: “We have heard that he is expected to survive.”

Prosecutors who successfully pursued a second-degree murder conviction against Chauvin at a jury trial in 2021 expressed dismay that he became the target of violence while in federal custody.

“I am sad to hear that Derek Chauvin was the target of violence. 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,” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement.

Terrence Floyd, George Floyd’s brother, told The Associated Press on Saturday that he would not wish for anyone to be stabbed in prison, and that he felt numb when he initially learned of the news.

“I’m not gonna give my energy towards anything that happens within those four walls — because my energy went towards getting him in those four walls,” Terrence Floyd said. “Whatever happens in those four walls, I don’t really have any feelings about it.”

Chauvin’s stabbing is the second high-profile attack on a federal prisoner in the last five months. In July, disgraced sports doctor Larry Nassar was stabbed by a fellow inmate at a federal penitentiary in Florida.

Chauvin, whose appeal against his murder conviction was rejected by the US Supreme Court last week, is making a bid to overturn his federal guilty plea on the grounds new evidence shows he did not cause Mr Floyd’s death.

Mr Floyd died on May 25 2020 after Chauvin pressed a knee on his neck for more than nine minutes on the street outside a convenience store where he was suspected of trying to pass a counterfeit 20 dollar bill.

Bystander video captured Mr Floyd’s fading cries of “I can’t breathe” and his death sparked protests worldwide, some of which turned violent, and forced a national debate on police brutality and racism.

Three other former officers received lesser state and federal sentences for their roles in Mr Floyd’s death.