JOHN DERBYSHIRE: Another Cup Of Cruelty In The Shameful Chauvin Story
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[Adapted from the latest Radio Derb, now available exclusively on]

Earlier, May 30, 2020: Even Right Abandoning Accused Minneapolis Cop—But They Shouldn’t and  March 31, 2021: Ann Coulter: Derek Chauvin, Human Sacrifice

Last week,  I mentioned in passing the U.S. Supreme Court’s rejection of an appeal by Derek Chauvin, the cop who was restraining George Floyd when Floyd died back in 2020. The rejection of the appeal was not in itself very noteworthy: the Supremes reject the great majority of appeals.

My podcast was wrapped up before the news came out that Chauvin had been stabbed by a fellow inmate at the federal prison in Arizona where he is serving his 20-plus-year sentences, state and federal.

How come he’s serving his state sentence, as well as his federal sentence, in a federal prison? Because of a plea deal he made with federal prosecutors. On his side of the deal, he’d plead guilty. On their side, he’d be allowed to serve his state sentence in a federal prison along with the federal sentence. The motive there was that federal prisons are generally considered safer than state prisons. Whoops…

I thought for this week’s podcast I’d bring you up to date with any new information about Chauvin getting stabbed. Well, there isn’t any. Not even Chauvin’s family, nor even his attorneys, have been told anything more than that Chauvin survived the stabbing and is in stable condition [Derek Chauvin’s family unaware of his condition following prison knife attack: lawyer, by Marjorie Hernandez, NY Post, November 29, 2023]. We—and the family, and the attorneys—don’t even know whether he’s conscious or not.

And who done it? We have no clue. Or rather, we have an indirect clue. We know it must have been a black guy because, as folk wisdom has taught us for decades, ”if it was a white guy they would have told us.” They haven’t, so it was a black guy.

[BREAKING: After Radio Derb was recorded, news broke that Chauvin’s assailant was a Hispanic-Croatian Mexican Mafia gang member and FBI informant, John Turscak:

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, which garnered widespread support in the wake of Floyd’s murder in 2020, and the “Black Hand” symbol associated with the Mexican Mafia
Inmate who stabbed Derek Chauvin 22 times is charged with attempted murder, prosecutors say, Politico, AP, December 2, 2023

So we can add another cup of cruelty to the cruel, shameful story of Chauvin’s show trial.

Having failed to find out anything about the actual stabbing, I got to wondering what, if anything, it tells us about our prison system—in this case, our federal prison system. There was an illuminating article on that in Monday’s New York Times.

It turns out, according to the Times, that the federal Bureau of Prisons is seriously underfunded—by Congress, that is. It further sounds, although the Times report is less explicit here, that the Bureau is poorly managed:

The federal prisons bureau has long been plagued by health and safety problems, physical and sexual abuse, corruption and high turnover in the top management ranks.

Colette S. Peters, who took over as the director of the Bureau of Prisons in August 2022, has said that filling those vacancies was the bureau’s top priority. In a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee this September, she discussed steps she had taken to start overhauling the system and urged Congress to provide more funding. But Senate lawmakers criticized Ms. Peters for not providing more information on fixing the system’s problems.

The Stabbing of Derek Chauvin: What We Know, by Colbi Edmonds, Glenn Thrush and Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, November 27, 2023

Here came my pleasant surprise. I’ve been telling you for a while that black women are now top of the status totem pole. For any kind of high-prestige appointment, government or private, a black woman is the first choice. Supreme Court nominee? Black woman! President of Harvard? Black woman!

So reading that New York Times story telling me that a certain Colette S. Peters took over as the director of the Bureau of Prisons in August 2022 I immediately thought to myself with an inward sigh: ”Oh, there’s another one.”

When I went to Google Images to look her up, though, I learned that she is a white lady.

Attorney General Swears in Colette S. Peters, BOP, August 3, 2022

I haven’t been able to find out anything else about her, so possibly she has some other identitarian points that make up for her whiteness… I don’t know. As it stands, though, at the point our Cultural Revolution has reached, this was a comparatively conservative appointment.

Just a year and a third into Ms. Peters’ tenure at the head of our federal prison system, it may be unfair to say it, but she doesn’t seem to have made much of a dent in the Bureau’s many problems.

Staffing is the biggest one. It’s not all the fault of Congressional underfunding, either. Another quote from the New York Times

About 21 percent of the 20,446 federal positions for corrections officers funded by Congress—amounting to 4,293 guards—were unfilled in September 2022, according to a report in March by the Justice Department’s inspector general’s office.

It does seem to be a lousy job, working in our federal prisons. State prison officers are better paid, so of course federal officers drift off to the nearest state establishment.

We really do have a serious law-and-order problem: not just in the streets with shoplifters, junkies, muggers, car-jackers, and rioters, but even in the prisons when criminals have been caught, judged, sentenced, and incarcerated.

Is there any chance Congress might address this, if they can spare the time from voting through another five billion dollars for Ukraine?

That is, of course, a rhetorical question.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge. His writings are archived at

Readers who wish to donate (tax deductible) funds specifically earmarked for John Derbyshire’s writings at can do so here.

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