Derek Chauvin’s mother Carolyn Pawlenty spoke in court before a judge handed her son his sentence (Pictures: ABC News)
Former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin’s mother said he is a ‘good man’ with ‘a big heart’ during his sentencing hearing. Carolyn Pawlenty, speaking for the first time publicly in Hennepin County Government Center, said he her son is not a racist and pleaded for a more lenient sentence.
Pawlenty on Friday afternoon said that her son devoted 19 years of his life to the Minneapolis Police Department and would call in to see if any help was needed even on his days off.
‘He has a big heart and he always has put others before his own,’ she said. ‘The public will never know the loving and caring man he is. But his family does.’
Pawlenty said has been ‘difficult’ for her to read the media, prosecution and public make ‘Derek to be an aggressive, heartless and uncaring person’.
‘I can tell you that is far from the truth,’ she said. ‘My son’s identity has also been reduced to that of a racist. I want this court to know that none of these things are true and that my son is a good man.’
Pawlenty said that ‘Derek has played over and over in his head the events of that day’, referring to May 25, 2020, when Chauvin knelt on Floyd for more than nine minutes and killed him.
Chauvin’s mother shared personal moments that offered a very different picture of him than the headlines for the past 13 months.
‘Derek, my happiest moment is when I gave birth to you,’ Pawlenty said. ‘And my second is when I was honored to pin your police badge on you. I remember you whispering to me, “Don’t stick me with it.”’
She vowed to stand by her son until the end.
‘Derek, I want you to know I’ve always believed in your innocence. And I will never waver from that,’ she said.
Pawlenty raised the issue that if Chauvin received a higher or maximum sentence, she might no longer be alive upon his release.
‘When you sentence him, you will also be sentencing me,’ she told Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill. ‘I won’t be able to see him or give him our special hug. When he is released, his father and I most likely won’t be here.’
After a brief statement from Chauvin giving his condolences to Floyd’s family, Cahill sentenced him to 22-and-a-half years. That was more than Minnesota’s guideline for second-degree murder for a person without a criminal history, but less than the 30 years that prosecutors sought.
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