Inmate who stabbed Derek Chauvin 22 times is charged with attempted murder

Inmate who stabbed Derek Chauvin 22 times is charged with attempted murder

At a federal prison in Arizona, a former gang member who was also a former FBI informant was charged on Friday with attempting to kill ex-Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin through stabbing.

At the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson, federal prosecutors stated that John Turscak stabbed Derek Chauvin 22 times and said he would have killed him if the guards had not arrived so fast.

Turscak, who is serving a 30-year sentence for crimes he did while a member of the Mexican Mafia, told investigators that he considered striking Derek Chauvin for approximately a month because the former cop is a well-known prisoner and was found guilty of killing George Floyd. Prosecutors added that Turscak later denied having intended to assassinate Derek Chauvin.

Turscak is charged with assaulting Derek Chauvin on November 24, the day after Thanksgiving, at 12:30 p.m. in the prison’s law library with a homemade knife. According to the Bureau of Prisons, staff members put an end to the assault and carried out “life-saving measures.” For medical attention, Derek Chauvin was brought to a hospital.

Turscak claimed to FBI agents during his post-attack interview that he attacked Derek Chauvin on Black Friday to symbolize the Black Lives Matter movement—which gained a lot of momentum after Floyd’s death—and the “Black Hand” symbol, which is linked to the Mexican Mafia, according to the prosecution.

Turscak, 52, is additionally accused of assault resulting in serious bodily injury, assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault with the intent to commit murder. The maximum sentence for both attempted murder and assault with the intent to kill is 20 years in jail. His present sentence is set to expire in 2026.

Court documents did not indicate a lawyer for Turscak. Turscak has acted as his own attorney in multiple court cases while incarcerated. He was transferred to a nearby federal prison in Tucson following the stabbing, and according to inmate records, he was still there as of Friday.

Messages seeking comment were left with Derek Chauvin’s lawyers.

August 2022 saw Derek Chauvin, 47, transferred from a maximum-security Minnesota state prison to FCI Tucson to serve a 22½-year state term for second-degree murder and a 21-year federal sentence for violating Floyd’s civil rights.

Eric Nelson, Derek Chauvin’s attorney at the time, had argued that his client should be kept apart from the general public and other prisoners because he was sure that he would be targeted. The majority of Derek Chauvin’s time in Minnesota was spent in solitary confinement, “largely for his own protection,” according to court documents Nelson wrote in 2017.

On May 25, 2020, Floyd, a Black man, passed away after Derek Chauvin, a White man, pushed a knee against his neck for nine and a half minutes as they were standing outside a convenience shop. Floyd was thought to be attempting to pass a fake $20 bill.

Witness footage caught Floyd’s faltering sobs, “I can’t breathe.” His passing sparked protests throughout the globe, some of which turned violent, and compelled a national conversation about racism and police violence.

Under the alias “Stranger,” Turscak oversaw a branch of the Mexican Mafia in the Los Angeles region in the late 1990s, according to court documents. In 1997, he turned informant for the FBI, giving details on the gang and tapes of his talks with other members and allies of the Mexican Mafia.

Over 40 people were indicted as a result of the inquiry. However, Turscak’s status as an informant was terminated by the FBI approximately halfway through because he continued to deal drugs, demand money, and approve assaults. In addition to being targeted himself, Turscak was accused of planning attacks on rival gang members and of trying to assassinate a rival Mexican Mafia faction’s head, according to court documents.

Turscak admitted to racketeering and plotting the assassination of a rival gang member in 2001. He claimed that a reduced sentence would have resulted from his cooperation with the FBI.

Turscak reportedly declared, “I didn’t commit those crimes for kicks,” in press stories on his sentencing. “I had to do them in order for me to survive. When I informed the FBI agents that, all they responded was, “Do what you have to do.”

Credits: NPR

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