Derek Chauvin has been moved from a state prison in Minnesota where he was often held in solitary confinement to a medium-security federal prison in Arizona, where the former police officer convicted of the murder of George Floyd can be held in prisons. less restrictive conditions.
Chauvin was taken Wednesday from a maximum-security prison in a Minneapolis suburb, where he often spent most of his day in a 10-foot-by-10-foot cell, to the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson, according to the Bureau. jails.
Derek Chauvin sentenced to 21 years in prison for violating the civil rights of George Floyd
The Tucson facility houses 266 male and female inmates as part of a larger complex that includes a high-security penitentiary and a minimum-security satellite camp.
Bureau of Prisons spokeswoman Randilee Giamusso declined to detail the circumstances of Chauvin’s confinement, citing privacy, safety and security concerns.
Experts said earlier that Chauvin was likely safer in the federal system. He generally houses less violent inmates, and he would be less likely to mingle with inmates he had arrested or investigated as a Minneapolis police officer.
« It’s dangerous to be an officer in any prison, » former U.S. Attorney Tom Heffelfinger said after Chauvin’s sentencing last month. “It’s even more dangerous in a state prison because of the nature of the prison population. There are gangs, for example. And the police don’t do well there. These risks are reduced in a federal prison.
The federal prison system is home to many high-profile inmates, but it’s also plagued by gangs and chronic violence. The entire federal prison system went into nationwide receivership in January after two inmates were killed and two others injured in a gang altercation at a federal penitentiary in Texas.
The Bureau of Prisons has also faced increasing scrutiny of violent incidents and serious misconduct within its ranks. Associated Press investigations have revealed abuse, neglect and leadership missteps, including rampant sexual abuse by workers, severe staff shortages, prisoner escapes and the mismanagement of the COVID-19 pandemic.
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Chauvin was sentenced last month in U.S. District Court in St. Paul to 21 years of age on federal civil rights charges after pleading guilty in a settlement with prosecutors. He was already serving 22½ years for his conviction in state court for murder and manslaughter; a condition of the agreement was that the sentences be served concurrently and in a federal prison.
Chauvin, who is white, killed Floyd by pinning the unarmed black man to the sidewalk with his knee for 9½ minutes as bystander video captured Floyd struggling to breathe and screaming for help. Floyd was suspected of smuggling a counterfeit bill into a nearby grocery store.
Floyd’s death on May 25, 2020 sparked a storm of protests around the world and refocused attention on police brutality and racism.
U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson suggested during Chauvin’s sentencing that he be placed near his family who live between Iowa and Minnesota. But federal officials are not bound by court demands.
The Tucson Jail Inmate Orientation Manual states that inmates are responsible for sweeping and mopping their cell floors and removing trash, among other duties. The prison offers recreation programs that include « organized and informal play, sports, fitness, board games, arts and crafts, music programs, intramural activities, social and cultural organizations and movies « .
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Last month, Magnuson also sentenced former Minneapolis police officer J. Alexander Kueng to three years in prison and former officer Tou Thao to 3½ years on civil rights charges related to Floyd’s murder. They intend to appeal against their conviction. Earlier in July, former officer Thomas Lane was sentenced to 2½ years. He was ordered to report to a low-security federal prison camp in Colorado later this month.
The three former officers were on trial at the same time as three men appeared in court in Georgia, facing federal hate crime charges in the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, who was black. They were eventually convicted.
Two of the men agreed to plead guilty in the case in exchange for serving their sentences in federal prison, saying they feared for their safety in state prison. The judge rejected the deal in part because Arbery’s family strongly opposed it.
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