Providing a Derek Chauvin update, the lawyer for the former Minneapolis police officer confirmed in an email to Heavy that Chauvin has returned to prison custody after being stabbed. However, the lawyer is raising questions about Chauvin’s safety behind bars, saying that prison officials won’t give him any information about improvements to security.
Gregory M. Erickson, Esq., of the law firm Mohrman, Kaardal & Erickson, P.A., wrote Heavy that he learned the information in a telephone conference with Chauvin’s family on December 2, 2023.
“I had a telephone conference with Derek’s family yesterday, and they 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,” he wrote. “His family is very concerned about the facility’s capacity to protect Derek from further harm. They remain unassured that any changes have been made to the faulty procedures that allowed Derek’s attack to occur in the first place.”
A former Mexican Mafia gang member named John Turscak is accused of repeatedly stabbing Chauvin, who was convicted in the death of George Floyd. The charging documents accuse the suspect of choosing “Black Friday” to represent a gang symbol and the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Here’s what you need to know:
Derek Chauvin’s Lawyer Says He Has Been Unable to Get Information About Changes to Prison Security Since His Client’s Stabbing
According to Erickson, he tried to no avail to get information from the prison system about improvements in prison security since the stabbing.
“As one of his attorneys, my personal attempts to obtain information regarding changes in the prison’s procedures have been left with ‘you can make a FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) request,'” he wrote in the email.
“A FOIA request, which would take thirty days to be processed and responded to, is completely unacceptable in the constantly evolving situation at hand.”
In the Derek Chauvin Update, the Lawyer Accused the Suspect, John Turscak, of Attacking the Former Officer ‘From Behind’ With an Improvised Knife
According to Erickson, the suspect used an “improvised knife.”
“Derek’s family did receive confirmation from Derek himself that the facts contained in the charging document are accurate; the attack was made in the law library, where the perpetrator attacked Derek from behind with an improvised knife,” he wrote.
“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 twenty-two times. Why was Derek allowed into the law library without a guard in close enough proximity to stop a possible attack? His family continues to wonder.”
He concluded, “The family wishes to avoid any in person interviews and appreciates your ongoing respect of their privacy during this very difficult time. We will continue to try to ascertain what additional measures are being made to protect Derek and will pursue any avenues available under the law to ensure his continued safety.”
Authorities accused Turscak of stabbing Chauvin 22 times in a Tucson, Arizona, prison law library.
On December 1, 2023, the United States Attorney’s Office “filed a criminal complaint charging attempted murder, assault with intent to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault resulting in serious bodily injury against John Turscak, 52,” the U.S. Department of Justice announced in a press release.
“The complaint alleges that while incarcerated at Federal Correctional Institution Tucson, Turscak stabbed another inmate, D.C., who had previously been convicted of federal crimes in another district, approximately 22 times with an improvised knife.”
“Attempted murder and assault with intent to commit murder violations each carry maximum penalties of 20 years’ incarceration, while assault with a dangerous weapon and assault resulting in serious bodily injury each carry maximum penalties of 10 years’ incarceration,” the release says.
Minnesota’s attorney general confirmed to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune that the inmate was Chauvin and said he was in a hospital in stable condition.
According to the federal indictment, authorities accused Turscak of stabbing Chavin (named as DC in the indictment) with an improvised knife approximately 22 times, causing serious bodily injury. Chauvin was “in the facility’s law library” when attacked, the court documents say.
“A federal corrections officers immediately responded to the assault and deployed OC spray to subdue Turscak,” the documents say.
Turscak told corrections officers “that he would have killed DC had they not responded so quickly,” the indictment says.
He denied wanting to kill DC but stated “he had been thinking about assaulting DC for approximately one month because DC is a high profile inmate,” the indictment says, adding, “He saw an opportunity to assault DC in the law library on Friday, November 24, 2023, the day after Thanksgiving commonly known as Black Friday.”