WORLD NEWS Derek Chauvin's stabbing sparks Jeffrey Epstein-inspired theory

Derek Chauvin’s stabbing sparks Jeffrey Epstein-inspired theory

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The stabbing of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in federal prison on Friday has sparked conspiracy theories among various right-wing voices online, citing false claims about the death of George Floyd and comparing the situation to the death of Jeffrey Epstein.

In May 2020, Chauvin killed Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, by kneeling on his neck for nine minutes during a confrontation. The incident sparked mass nationwide protests calling for police reform and racial equality, and later led to Chauvin’s dismissal from the Minneapolis police force. A year later, he was convicted of charges related to Floyd’s death and sentenced to over 22 years in prison.

On Friday, the Associated Press reported that Chauvin had been stabbed by a fellow inmate at the Federal Correctional Institution in Tucson, Arizona. The Bureau of Prisons confirmed only that an inmate had been assaulted at 12:30 p.m. local time and left in serious condition. “Life-saving measures” were performed on the inmate, who was later transported to a hospital for further treatment. The inmate’s current condition remains unknown.

Newsweek reached out to the Bureau of Prisons via email for comment.

Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is seen in his booking photo on April 21, 2021. Jeffrey Epstein is seen in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on September 8, 2004. Right-wing social media users have begun to compare Chauvin to Epstein after the former police officer was stabbed in prison.
Minnesota Department of Corrections/Rick Friedman Photography/Corbis via Getty Images

In reaction to the news, various right-wing voices on X, the platform previously known as Twitter, began circulating a new conspiracy that Chauvin’s reported attack was an intentional move to silence him. In circulating the theory, the users cited a widely debunked claim, once spread by former Fox News host Tucker Carlson, that Chauvin was not responsible for Floyd’s death, but rather he had died from drug-induced conditions. The claim also hinged on the debunked narrative that Floyd’s official autopsy was altered, which it was not.

Newsweek debunked these claims in a fact-check last month. While the autopsy noted that Floyd had some amount of fentanyl and other illicit drugs in his system, they were not found to have contributed to his death. While it also noted that he had not suffered “life threatening injuries,” Floyd’s death was attributed to “cardiopulmonary arrest” from “law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression,” and ultimately deemed a homicide.

“Tucker Carlson on Oct 20th: Derek Chauvin did not murder George Floyd. A month after this newly released toxicology report confirmed Floyd’s overdose death, Derek Chauvin was nearly Epsteined!” an X user going by “Eddie” posted. “Chauvin’s stabbing was also only a few days after [the Supreme Court] denied his appeal request.”

“My God, they gave other prisoners access to Chauvin, after he killed black Jesus? Still think that Epstein didn’t kill himself?” Richard Hanania, president of right-wing think tank Center for Study of Partisanship and Ideology (CPSI), wrote in his own post. “The federal prison system is run by incompetents picked for diversity reasons.”

“They’re trying to Epstein #DerekChauvin because the feds altered the autopsy and they can’t hide it anymore,” user “Salty Texan” wrote. “Derek Chauvin is an innocent man.”

Many of the users spreading the conspiracy have made allusions to the death of Epstein, the convicted sex offender found guilty of running a sex trafficking ring in which he provided underage girls for various high-profile individuals.

Epstein died in prison in July 2019, with the official cause being suicide by hanging. Despite that, numerous conspiracy theories, popular all along the political spectrum, claim that he was actually murdered in an effort to keep him from naming any of his famous clients. While widely accepted as fact by many, the theories have never been proven.