The mother of federal inmate Derek Chauvin and one of his attorneys are chastising prison officials for keeping them in the dark about last week's stabbing by a fellow inmate that left the ex-Minneapolis police officer in serious condition.
The 47-year-old Chauvin has been imprisoned at the federal prison in Tucson, Ariz., for killing George Floyd while on duty in 2020. Chauvin was attacked on Friday at the medium-security facility.
Gregory Erickson, who is Chauvin's civil attorney, said that Chauvin's father has been contacted by a Bureau of Prisons official confirming the stabbing but has received "no concrete information on how this was allowed to happen, any detail regarding Mr. Chauvin's injuries or details about his condition other than he is stable."
Erickson added that Chauvin's family members have also been denied information about his client's location or condition, leaving them unable to visit him or consult with him on his medical needs.
The attorney also pointed out that he and the family have reached out repeatedly directly to the Tucson prison in vain for details on the attack. As of Tuesday morning, federal prosecutors in Arizona have yet to announce any charges against the inmate suspected of stabbing Chauvin.
Carolyn Pawlenty, Chauvin's mother, expressed her outrage on social media Monday that she has not heard from prison officials in Arizona or from the Bureau of Prisons since her son was attacked.
"I have major concerns and questions!" Pawlenty wrote. "I want the respect of being notified!! I am heartbroken!! I am his mom!!!!!!!"
"I view this lack of communication with his attorneys and family members as completely outrageous," Erickson said. "It appears to be indicative of a poorly run facility and indicates how Derek's assault was allowed to happen."
Erickson added, "I would like you all to imagine how you would feel if this was your son, brother, or father who was stabbed and forced to suffer alone, his location concealed from you. This is completely unacceptable. If this is standard procedure, the procedure must be changed."
In a brief phone call Tuesday, Erickson said Chauvin's parents "are just upset and disgusted with how everything has transpired in terms of transparency."
A spokesman for the Bureau of Prisons, which like the FBI is under the Justice Department, has declined to answer questions or provide additional details about the attack other than confirming that an assault on an inmate occurred and that employees performed ''life-saving measures'' before the inmate was taken to a hospital for further treatment and evaluation.
The agency spokesman also declined to respond to the allegations leveled by Chauvin's attorney about inmate safety or the lack of information for Chauvin's family.
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 federal Bureau of Prisons has long been plagued by staffing shortages, chronic violence, inmate deaths and sexual abuse of prisoners by staff.
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 Bureau of Prison records.
Floyd, who was Black, died in May 2020 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.
Last week's assault came one week after the premiere of Alpha News' documentary, "The Fall of Minneapolis," which questions the prevailing media narrative of Floyd's murder. The film includes interviews with Chauvin and ex-officer J. Alexander Kueng, who was also convicted in Floyd's death.
"At the end of the day, the whole trial including sentencing was a sham," Chauvin told Alpha News during a phone interview from prison.
"He had a fair trial and the whole world saw it," Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said in response to that.
This story contains material from the Associated Press. Star Tribune staff writers Liz Sawyer and Rochelle Olson contributed to this report.