Monday, July 15, 2024

The stabbing on Friday of Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted of murdering George Floyd in 2020, at a special unit inside a Tucson, Ariz., prison is the latest in a series of attacks against high-profile inmates in the troubled, short-staffed federal Bureau of Prisons.
The assault comes less than five months after Larry Nassar, the doctor convicted of sexually abusing young female gymnasts, was stabbed multiple times at the federal prison in Florida. It also follows the release of Justice Department reports detailing incompetence and mismanagement at federal detention centers that led to the deaths in recent years of James Bulger, the Boston gangster known as Whitey, and Jeffrey Epstein, who had been charged with sex trafficking.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed that an inmate at the Tucson prison was stabbed around 12:30 p.m. on Friday, though the bureau did not identify Mr. Chauvin, 47, by name. The agency said in a statement that the inmate required “life-saving measures” before being rushed to a hospital emergency room nearby. The office of Keith Ellison, the Minnesota attorney general who prosecuted the former police officer, identified the inmate as Mr. Chauvin.
He is likely to survive, according to two people with knowledge of the situation who were not authorized to discuss the incident publicly.
On Saturday, the prison remained on lockdown while law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, examined the crime scene and interviewed witnesses. Family visits to the facility have been suspended indefinitely, according to the prison’s website.
The facility in Tucson where Mr. Chauvin was stabbed is referred to as a “dropout yard,” one of several special protective units within the Federal Bureau of Prisons system housing informants, people convicted of sex crimes, former gang members and former law enforcement personnel, among others, according to Joe Rojas, who retired earlier this month as president of the union local representing workers at the Federal Correctional Complex near Coleman, Fla.
These specialized facilities — including units in Tucson, Coleman (where Mr. Nassar was stabbed), and Terre Haute, Ind. — are supposed to provide an additional measure of safety for high-profile inmates. In turn, such inmates tend to avoid conflicts and disciplinary infractions prevalent in the wider prison population, for fear of losing their protected status.

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