Tucson, Arizona – Derek Chauvin, the White police officer convicted in the death of Black career criminal George Floyd, was brutally stabbed while serving out a 22½-year sentence in federal lockup. While Chauvin is now in “stable” condition and expected to survive the attack, concerns by his immediate family grow, who now believe they have been “left in the dark” by prison officials.
The assault occurred on Friday around 12:30 at the medium-security Federal Correctional Institution Tucson, a facility housing approximately 380 inmates and wrought with security-laded scandals. Chauvin was reportedly stabbed by another inmate, sustaining severe injuries according to an Associated Press report. Staff quickly responded to the area and administered “life-saving measures” to Chauvin before transporting him to a hospital for further treatment and evaluation.
While the incident unfolded, Derek Chauvin’s mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, claims to have been completely left in the dark. According to her, international news agencies were privy to her son’s brutal stabbing before she was.
“I can’t even think what to say. I haven’t been to bed and made a path in my kitchen and living room floor by pacing. I am worried and scared,” said Pawlenty in an interview with Alpha News. “How the hell do these news agencies know and his own mother doesn’t even know? And that [prison] has an emergency contact number [for me].”
Pawlenty said that she had visited her son several times in the Arizona lockup where he has now been victimized. He was transferred there in 2022, a move championed by his former defense lawyer, Eric Nelson. Nelson believed that Chauvin would be safer if he carried out his sentence away from the city of Minneapolis, where he had previously served as a police officer for 19 years before the Floyd incident.
“There is no stronger love than a mother’s love,’ Pawlenty continued. “It has been difficult for me to hear and read what the media, public, and prosecution believe Derek to be an (aggressive), heartless and uncaring person. Derek is a quiet, thoughtful, honorable, and selfless man. He has a big heart and has always put others before his own. The public will never know the loving and caring man he is. But his family does.”
The attempt made on Chauvin’s life came just nine days after the release of “The Fall of Minneapolis,” a free, crowdfunded documentary that re-examines the Chauvin case in a new, more positive light. In it, Chauvin himself referred to his criminal trial and sentencing as a “sham,” and claimed the maneuver he deployed to restrain Floyd was department-sanctioned and a part of his police training.
Chauvin has been actively fighting against his 2022 conviction for both second-degree murder and civil rights charges, for which he’s concurrently serving more than 22 years. Citing new evidence from Dr. William Schaetzel—who believes Floyd’s cause of death stemmed from a rare tumor called a paraganglioma, capable of triggering a fatal adrenaline surge—might have been the real factor in Floyd’s death. Despite the new evidence, the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear Chauvin’s appeal on Monday.
As a result, many liken Chauvin to a political prisoner, held in protective custody for merely carrying out his job. His punishment, some claim, was only issued because a Black man happened to die in the process. A GiveSendGo has been set up to assist the Chauvin family in mounting a spirited legal defense with the aim of his liberation from federal custody.
“The EMS and fire response was not normal, normally both those resources were sent and they arrive in a short time, especially in a code 3 situation. In this case, Minneapolis Fire took 20 minutes to arrive, and their station was 8 blocks away,” said Chauvin in his first interview after being incarcerated. “At the end of the day, the whole [George Floyd death] trial including sentencing was a sham!”
Law Enforcement in the United States has seemingly never recovered from the 2020 Summer of Racial Reckoning, a series of fiery, violent riots from anti-White extremist groups that ravaged the country after the now-infamous Floyd incident. Since that day, scores of qualified men and women have left the profession entirely, pointing to concerns over workload, personal safety, and a lack of confidence in the criminal justice system.
Mass resignations of this severity have so far left critical vacancies in police departments that are now struggling to deal with a festering violent crime epidemic felt in cities across America. According to pension data, over 2,500 NYPD officers have resigned in the year 2023 alone, and the trend appears to only continue into a tumultuous 2024.
“When you look at the number of resignations, you need to ask yourself why would the mayor even consider making cuts to hiring in the NYPD?” said Joseph Giacalone, a retired NYPD sergeant turned adjunct professor. “As the numbers continue to dwindle, things will take a dramatic turn for the worse.”
Chauvin’s trial, conviction, and subsequent placement in a medium-security prison have spoken volumes as to the current state of the American criminal justice system. While Chauvin has been demonized by the media and left vulnerable to attack from the criminals he shares space with, prison authorities seemingly failed to provide the care, custody, and control needed to keep Chauvin, and others like him, safe.
FCI Tucson, which has been referred to as a “dropout yard,” is considered by the Federal Bureau of Prisons a “special protective unit” reserved for informants and former members of law enforcement now susceptible to harm. Despite this, the prison has been involved in several security-related blow-ups. In November of 2022, an inmate managed to smuggle a firearm inside the facility and attempted to shoot his wife during a routine visit. Fortunately, the gun jammed, but the incident led to a federal investigation and stood as a humiliating breach of protocol for the agency.
White inmates—as well as staff—increasingly find themselves at risk from attack and other forms of prison corruption. In 2022, a series of four White inmates died in a controversial jail in West Virginia, with one being allegedly beaten to death by fellow inmates over prison food while awaiting trial. In October, a White Corrections Officer with only 6 months on the job was killed in a horrific prison shank attack. For the crime, Police charged a seasoned Black murderer who was already serving a life sentence for previous attacks.
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