When Derek Chauvin begins a lengthy stay at a state prison camp in Minnesota later this year, someone may stab him with a shiv or prison shank. Or, someone will throw a sack of urine and feces on him as he is escorted through a prison pod while being cursed and threatened by dozens of violent and angry prisoners. Millions of people across the country–including many in New Jersey–cheered and applauded Tuesday’s unanimous guilty verdicts against the disgraced former flatfoot. He was found guilty on three counts in the videotaped and high-profile murder trial of 46-year-old George Floyd last May on a Minneapolis street.
Chauvin, 45, was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in the death of Floyd. For more than nine minutes, the smug copper bore his boney knee into the back of the neck of a handcuffed and prone Floyd. A group of onlookers shouted and pleaded for the defiant Chauvin to get off of the incapacitated and unconscious man. Floyd later died from asphyxiation as a result of the deadly and illegal police restraint. Immediately after Tuesday’s guilty verdicts, an emotionless Chauvin was escorted out of the courtroom in handcuffs and taken to jail.
In New Jersey, some former inmates said Chauvin would become an immediate target and the focus of violence and attacks at any state prison facility he is assigned. According to various historical and recent data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), former law enforcement officials, police officers’, disbarred or rogue attorney’s, rapists, child molesters, and high profile criminals are the most frequent victims of assault and violence in prison. For example, in 1994, notorious serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was beaten to death by a fellow inmate at a state prison in Wisconsin. The murder occurred despite Dahmer being in solitary confinement for about 23 hours each day. More recently, in 2019, disgraced financier and convicted sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein died under mysterious circumstances at a New York City prison. Some contend he committed suicide by hanging, while others believe fellow inmates or guards murdered him.
“I think Derek Chauvin will either be beaten by other inmates or attempt suicide,” said Antonio Nunez in Trenton. “I’ve seen it happen before…inmates who were ex-cops, lawyers or child molesters get their ass kicked by other inmates. Others can’t take prison life and kill themselves.” Nunez, 52, spent nearly 15 years in various state prisons in and around New Jersey for various felony offenses. He was released in 2000. He said even if a high-profile inmate is in solitary confinement at a maximum-security state prison for 23 hours a day, the prisoner can still be targeted. “Sometimes, an inmate has to go to the medical unit or somewhere else in prison,” he said. “Word gets out when someone is led through a cellblock in front of hundreds of other prisoners.” Nunez describes witnessing several instances where a jailed ex-police officer or some other high-profile inmate was assaulted. “In some cases, the C.O.” (correctional officers) ignored the attack or encouraged it,” he said. “In a lot of cases, prisoners recognize or know the ex-officer from a prior arrest. “I’ve heard them say things like, ‘Yeah, that’s the mutha’fu **** that arrested me, my father, brother or cousin three years ago…”
Chauvin faces a possible maximum prison sentence of up to 40 years at a state prison when sentenced in June. Three of his former colleagues will stand trial over Floyd’s murder in August. They face charges of aiding and abetting second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.