Questions Surround FBI Informant Charged With Stabbing Convicted Cop Derek Chauvin

Tucson, AZ — Federal inmate and former FBI informant, John Turscak, was charged last week with attempted murder by federal prosecutors for the Black Friday stabbing incident of fellow prisoner Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer who was convicted for the 2020 murder of George Floyd. The incident has raised questions about the FBI’s involvement and whether or not the stabbing was an “inside job.”

The press release from the U.S. Department of Justice reads: 

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 complaint alleges that while incarcerated at Federal Correctional Institution Tucson, Turscak stabbed another inmate, [Derek Chauvin], who had previously been convicted of federal crimes in another district, approximately 22 times with an improvised knife.

Derek Chauvin was found guilty on April 20, 2021 for murdering Floyd — an unarmed Black man who cried out for his mom as Chauvin choked him to death. Videos of the murder went viral and spurred a massive uprising in Minneapolis and around the globe. At the time of Floyd’s murder, Chauvin was a 19-year veteran with the Minneapolis Police Department (MPD).

On November 24, the day after Thanksgiving, also known as Black Friday, Chauvin was attacked with an improvised knife in the prison’s law library around 12:30 p.m. while he was using the photo copier. Chauvin survived the attack and was taken to a hospital for treatment. 

Immediately after the assault, observers took to social media to celebrate, referring to the incident as “Shanksgiving.” Others took to social media to raise concerns over foul play, calling it a “hit” and an “inside job,” accusing the FBI of being responsible. 

Despite the rumors and conspiracy theories flying around the internet, the attacker’s identity was withheld from the public for one week. Turscak’s name was finally released on December 1, after he was formally charged in federal court. 

A Tarnished History

As soon as Turscak was named as the attacker, it was revealed that he used to work for the FBI as an informant more than two decades ago. 

According to the L.A. Times, during Turscak’s 2001 trial, he admitted to committing several crimes while working as an undercover FBI informant, and was sentenced in Los Angeles federal court to 30 years in prison. 

John Turscak, 30, expressed bitter disappointment with his sentence. He told U.S. District Judge A. Howard Matz, ‘I didn’t commit those crimes for kicks. I did them because I had to if I wanted to stay alive. I told that to the [FBI] agents and they just said, ‘Do what you have to do.’’ In 1997, Turscak became an informant in an investigation that resulted in the indictment of more than 40 alleged Mexican Mafia members and associates.

Midway through the probe, however, prosecutors dropped him as an informer after he admitted dealing drugs, extorting money and authorizing assaults while on the government payroll.

L.A. Times investigative journalist Chris Blatchford wrote the book “The Black Hand: The Story of Rene ‘Boxer’ Enriquez and His Life in the Mexican Mafia,” in which he claimed that Turscak carried out roughly 10 stabbings in prison at the direction of the La Erne prison gang, according to the Star Tribune

Turscak said decades ago that he committed crimes out of survival, but he allegedly said in his recent interview with authorities that he attacked Chauvin for social justice and notoriety, or in other words: for kicks. 

According to federal prosecutors: “Turscak told FBI agents interviewing him after the assault that he attacked Chauvin on Black Friday as a symbolic connection to the Black Lives Matter movement … and the ‘Black Hand’ symbol associated with the Mexican Mafia,” the complaint read. 

Initially when the story of the Black Friday attack against the former officer broke, and again after it was reported that the attacker said he did it in solidarity with the BLM protest movement, many observers assumed the attacker was Black. 

However, it has been confirmed that Turscak is European and his parents emigrated from Czechoslovakia. Additionally, it has been confirmed that he’s been incarcerated since 2001, more than a decade before the Black Lives Matter movement began, complicating the official story from the feds. 

The FBI, whom he allegedly made the statement to, has a history tarnished by racialized surveillance of and violence against Black civil rights’ activists — including connections to the assassinations of several Black leaders. 

Many have also commented on the unusual nature for an inmate to have his identity protected so thoroughly. None of his mugshots have been located. No credible photos of Turscak have yet been discovered online as of this report.

Official Story Attacked From the Right

Legacy media is playing up Turscak’s criminal past all while downplaying his past employment with the FBI. However, Fox News, which typically operates as a mouthpiece for the military, law enforcement agencies, and sometimes the FBI, is now questioning that same agency’s credibility. 

Host and commentator Jesse Watters challenged the government’s official story. “With three years left until freedom, [Turscak] apparently decided, ‘I’m gonna murder somebody,’” Watters remarked, mocking the official explanation. 

“The complaint says Turscak at first denied wanting to kill Chauvin. And then the complaint says [he] waived his Miranda Rights when the FBI agents showed up to interview him,” he said. “First of all, why is the FBI conducting the prison interview?

“And wait until you hear what the FBI says he confessed to…it’s just too perfect. The FBI claims that the Mexican Mafia guy wanted to murder Chauvin on Black Friday to symbolically avenge Black Lives Matter.

Jesse Watters, Fox News Host

The attack on the former officer happened just days after a controversial film was released, featuring a phone interview with Chauvin from prison in Tucson. The documentary, The Fall of Minneapolis, pushes the racist claim that Chauvin is innocent. The filmmakers postulate the theory that Floyd died from a drug overdose, and that the whole trial was a Democratic conspiracy to convict Chauvin that also involved the FBI. 

It was created and crowdsourced by the far-right propaganda outlet Alpha News and based on a Liz Collins book. Collins is a right-wing journalist and the wife of Bob Kroll, the notorious former Minneapolis police union boss. 

Watters had Collins on his show to discuss the FBI’s connection to Chauvin’s attack, as well as their investigation into Floyd’s murder, as documented in her film. 

“This happened eight days after our film was released that questions the FBI involvement in this case,” she said, “bringing that out … in the film for the very first time. So there are still so many questions.” 

Turscak ‘Was a Paid Mole’ 

Former Minneapolis police officer Sarah Saarela spoke to Unicorn Riot about the news. She said she didn’t think the FBI connection was a coincidence. 

Saarela worked as a corrections officer (CO) at Minnesota’s only women’s prison, Minnesota Correctional Facility – Shakopee, for eight years before joining the MPD in 1995. After leaving MPD, Saarela moved to Tucson for seven years.

She told UR that it was weird that Chauvin was sent to the Tucson prison. “It’s one of the more dangerous ones,” she said. “And it being only medium security makes it even less safe.” 

Although reports said guards immediately intervened, thus saving Chauvin’s life, Saarela said that doesn’t make sense.“The COs looked away just long enough for Turscak to stab Chauvin 22 times in that law library,” noting that “the prison in Tucson is not very big.” 

She insisted that “he would have been safer in SuperMax,” referring to the federal super maximum penitentiary in Florence, Colorado, where the U.S. incarcerates some of its most notorious convicts.  

Saarela said the official story presented by the federal government lacks credibility. She believes that Turscak was working for the FBI when he tried to kill Chauvin. She said, “I think he was a paid mole. And he was paid with federal money to commit his crimes, including the attempt on Chauvin’s life, I believe. But the question is why.”

Cover image by Niko Georgiades for Unicorn Riot from images of FCI-Tucson by Greg Bryan/Arizona Daily Star, Derek Chauvin by David Joles/MPR, Star Tribune via AP, and federal charging documents.


Related:

Derek Chauvin to be Moved to Federal Prison After Sentenced to 21 Years [July 2022]

Ex-Cop Derek Chauvin Sentenced to 22.5 Years for George Floyd Murder [June 2021]

The State’s Conviction of Chauvin Upholds the System’s ‘Innocence’ [April 2021]

Full Coverage of the Derek Chauvin Trial

Minneapolis Police Murder Handcuffed Man With Neck-Kneel – [May 2020]

George Floyd Uprising – Reporter Reflection [5 Episode Series]

Beyond the Barricades: A Look At George Floyd Square [Mini-Doc]


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