Is Derek Chauvin safe at Oak Park Heights? Inmate says best case scenario is he'll 'get beat up a lot'
Hannabal Shaddai, serving life sentence in Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights said: 'First of all, he’s a cop. Then he did what he did. So it’s not safe for him to be here'
Weeks away from his sentencing, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin -- convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter of George Floyd -- is locked up in Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights, a maximum-security state prison. Chauvin’s sentencing is set for June 25. But in the meantime, is he safe?
An inmate at the maximum-security prison, from which no inmate has reportedly ever escaped in its nearly 40-year history, believes the convicted ex-cop is in fact not safe there. Hannabal Shaddai, who is serving a life sentence, spoke to Paradox Politics about the matter.
“First of all, he’s a cop. Then he did what he did,” the 48-year-old prisoner said. “So it’s not safe for him to be here. Best case scenario for him is he’s going to get beat up a lot. I don’t think he’s safe in any prison population.”
Shaddai reportedly shares the same case manager as Chauvin. He speculated that Chauvin right now is only interacting with guards, nurses, and mental health experts. As per reports, Chauvin spends 23 hours a day alone in a seven-by-ten-foot cell at the maximum-security prison. He has also been placed on a suicide watch. He is reportedly only allowed out of the cell for one hour each day for exercise. All meals are delivered to his cell, which is monitored by cameras and checked on by guards every 30 minutes.
The Minnesota Department of Corrections said that Chauvin is under “administrative segregation” to ensure his safety, not just as a suicide risk, but also from other inmates. “I heard he’s been complaining about people messing with his food,” said Shaddai. “But there’s a camera in his cell, there’s cameras everywhere, so I don’t think someone would risk their job to do something to his food. Maybe a few correctional officers are sympathetic to him, but man, anybody who’s human is going to be upset about what he did. All he had to do was move his knee a few inches.”
Shaddai, who was sentenced in 1995 for first-degree felony murder and attempted first-degree felony murder, has seen the video of Chauvin with his knee pressed against George Floyd’s neck. “I’m dark-skinned so you know, it hits home… For me, that picture of [Chauvin] just sitting on his knee with his hand in his pocket just slowly killing that man, with the Asian guy standing there keeping the crowd back, and another white man and an African-American man sitting on top of him, that whole picture says to me everything in this country,” Shaddai said.
“It says, ‘I’m going to kill one of you motherf***ers in broad daylight with the help of one of your own and ain’t nobody going to do nothing about it,’” he said. “The dude is abnormal, man. We make him out to be a monster. Just like when I went to trial, the victim’s family said I was a monster.”
Shaddai continued, “But this is the thing, he didn’t get that way by himself if somebody put this racist stuff in him… We’re quick to call somebody a monster, but society creates the monster. Like me, I’m in here 27 years, trying to do better myself asking, ‘Why did I do these things?’ I’ve wanted to better myself.”