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2 Dec, 2023 04:47

Attacker of George Floyd killer charged

Prosecutors say the suspect claimed his actions had “symbolic” ties to the Black Lives Matter movement
Attacker of George Floyd killer charged

The inmate who stabbed former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin 22 times in prison has been indicted for attempted murder, prosecutors said. The ex-cop targeted in the attack was previously convicted for the on-duty killing of George Floyd, which triggered nationwide protests.

John Turscak, 52, was slapped with a series of charges related to the assault on Chauvin last week, including “attempted murder, assault with intent to commit murder, assault with a dangerous weapon, and assault resulting in serious bodily injury,” the US Attorney’s Office in Arizona said on Friday.

“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,” the office added in a release, using Chauvin’s initials.

According to federal officials, Chauvin required hospital treatment for his injuries, but survived. He was said to be in “stable condition” days after the incident.

Turscak had been serving out a 30-year sentence for crimes committed as a member of the Mexican Mafia prison gang, and later told police that he had considered attacking Chauvin for weeks. Immediately after the stabbing, he informed corrections officers that he would have killed the former cop had the assault not been stopped, according to the prosecution.

The inmate stated that he staged the attack on Black Friday – the day after Thanksgiving – which was “symbolic with the Black Lives Matter movement” that spearheaded protests over Floyd’s death in 2020 and also an homage to the “Black Hand” symbol associated with the Mexican Mafia, according to the criminal complaint.

Turscak now faces up to 20 years behind bars for two of his new charges, and 10-year sentences for the others. He previously worked on behalf of the FBI and assisted the bureau’s probe into the Mexican Mafia in the 1990s, which resulted in more than 40 indictments, according to the Associated Press. Federal agents later severed ties after concluding Turscak was still selling drugs and committing other offenses in prison, and the inmate was later accused of plotting to kill rival gang members.

Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison in June 2021 for murder and civil rights violations, with the government stating the officer had killed Floyd by kneeling on his neck for more than nine minutes. Footage of the episode went viral and helped to spark protests and riots in hundreds of US cities – including Minneapolis, Minnesota where Floyd was killed.

The former officer has sought to overturn the rulings against him, though the US Supreme Court recently denied an appeal to his murder conviction. A separate appeal is ongoing, and Chauvin’s defense team claims new evidence shows he did not cause Floyd’s death.