An attorney for Derek Chauvin said the former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted of murdering George Floyd is out of hospital and back in the Arizona federal prison where he was stabbed 22 times by a fellow inmate who stands charged with the knife attack.
Family members "confirmed that his medical 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," said Gregory Erickson, who represents Chauvin in civil matters connected to Floyd's murder in May 2020.
While Chauvin's family members are grateful for his recovery, they remain "very concerned about the facility's capacity to protect Derek from further harm," Erickson said. "They remain unassured that any changes have been made to the faulty procedures that allowed Derek's attack to occur in the first place."
On Friday, a onetime Los Angeles street gang member was charged in U.S. District Court with attempted murder, assault with intent to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury stemming from the Nov. 24 attack with a makeshift knife in the Tucson prison's law library.
After John Turscak was subdued by corrections officers, he said he had been thinking about attacking the 47-year-old Chauvin because of the fired police officer's notoriety.
Erickson said U.S. Bureau of Prisons officials stymied his efforts to get timely information about Chauvin's condition, at one point telling him he could make a request under the federal Freedom of Information Act.
That would take 30 days to process, the attorney said, which "is completely unacceptable in the constantly evolving situation at hand."
Erickson said Chauvin's family finally heard from him that the facts contained in the charging document are accurate including that "the perpetrator attacked Derek from behind with an improvised knife."
However, Erickson continued, "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 22 times."
The attorney added he wants to know why Chauvin was "allowed into the law library without a guard in close enough proximity to stop a possible attack? His family continues to wonder."
Contacted Monday, Bureau of Prisons spokesman Benjamin O'Cone repeated the agency's policy of not commenting on "the conditions of confinement for any incarcerated individual. Nor do we comment on matters related to investigations or discuss specific security practices."
The charges against Turscak noted that he told corrections officers his stabbing of Chauvin on Black Friday was "symbolic of the Black Lives Matter movement and the 'Black Hand' symbol associated with the Mexican Mafia crime organization."
He also told officers that "he would have killed [Chauvin] had they not responded so quickly," the charges continued.
Turscak was sentenced in November 2001 to 30 years in prison for committing numerous crimes while acting as an undercover informant for the FBI in the Los Angeles area.
Floyd, who was Black, died while pinned under the knee of Chauvin, who is white, at the corner of Chicago Avenue and 38th Street in south Minneapolis. Floyd's death ignited days of protests and at times deadly riots.
Chauvin has been serving a 21-year federal sentence for violating Floyd's civil rights and a 22 ½-year state sentence for second-degree murder. He's due to be released from prison in 2038, according to U.S. Bureau of Prison records.
Chauvin is the latest high-profile inmate to be attacked at a federal prison. In July, convicted sex offender and former Michigan State University doctor Larry Nassar was stabbed repeatedly at a facility in Florida.
In 2018, former Boston mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger was killed shortly after being transferred to a federal prison in West Virginia. A Justice Department report late last year excoriated the prison's management for Bulger's death.
A series of Associated Press reports in 2022 found that the Bureau of Prisons has long been plagued by staffing shortages, chronic violence, inmate deaths and sexual abuse of prisoners by staff.