Derek Chauvin, the former Minneapolis police officer convicted in the death of George Floyd, was stabbed in federal prison on Friday and seriously injured, the Associated Press said, citing a person familiar with the matter.
Mr Floyd’s death in 2020 unleashed a wave of protests worldwide against police brutality and racism after Chauvin, who is white, knelt on the handcuffed black man’s neck for more than nine minutes in a killing caught on mobile phone video.
The Federal Bureau of Prisons confirmed an unidentified inmate was assaulted at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson in Arizona, but declined to confirm whether it was Chauvin.
Chauvin (47), was stabbed by another inmate at the prison, the news agency said, citing a source who was not authorised to discuss the attack and sought anonymity. The New York Times also reported Chauvin was stabbed, citing two people with knowledge of the matter.
In its statement, the Bureau said employees of the medium security prison responded to the attack and "initiated life-saving measures" for one individual, who was taken by emergency medical services to a hospital for treatment.
No employees were injured. A Bureau spokesperson said it would add no further information.
Zach Graham, an attorney on the defence team at Chauvin’s trial, said the firm, Minneapolis-based Halberg Criminal Defense, had no comment on the reported stabbing. A member of Chauvin’s appellate team, Greg Erickson, said he had no knowledge of such an incident.
Chauvin is serving a 21-year federal sentence for violating Mr Floyd’s civil rights, as well as a concurrent 22-1/2 years for murder on his conviction in Minnesota state court.
On Monday, the US Supreme Court declined to hear Chauvin’s appeal of his state court murder conviction. The appeal had been filed after a Minnesota appellate court upheld his 2021 murder conviction and rejected his request for a new trial.
Chauvin had said jury bias and some rulings by the presiding judge deprived him of his right to a fair trial.
Chauvin was helping three fellow officers to arrest Mr Floyd in May 2020 on suspicion that Mr Floyd had used a fake $20 bill when buying cigarettes.