Former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin showed rare public emotion when his mother spoke on his behalf Friday in court before his sentencing.
Carolyn Pawlenty, who said she was speaking on behalf of her entire family, expressed her love and admiration for her son and told the public she’s never once questioned his innocence. During the emotional plea from Pawlenty, Chauvin put his head down and closed his eyes.
Chauvin was notably stoic throughout the trial, rarely showing emotion.
“Derek devoted 19 years to the Minneapolis Police Department,” Pawlenty started. “It has been difficult for me to hear and read what the media, public, and prosecution team believe Derek to be an aggressive, heartless, and uncaring person. I can tell you that is far from the truth. 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 my son is a good man.”
“Derek always dedicated his life and time to the police department, even on his days off, he would call in to see if they needed help,” she said.
“Derek is a quiet, thoughtful, honorable, and selfless man; he has a big heart and he has always put others before his own. The public will never know what a loving a caring man he is that his family does.”
Even though she’s not spoken out publicly, Pawlenty said, “I have always supported him 100%, and always will.”
“When you sentence my son, you will also be sentencing me,” the mother told Judge Peter Cahill. “I will not be able to see Derek, talk to him on the phone, or give him our special hug. Plus, the fact that when he is released, his father and I, most likely, will not be here.”
Pawlenty also said her “happiest moment” was when she gave birth to her son, and the second was when she was able to pin Chauvin’s police badge on him.
“Derek, I want you to know, I have always believed in your innocence, and I will never waver from that. I have read numerous letters from people around the world that also believe in your innocence. … I promise you I will stay strong — as we talked about — and I want you to do the same for me.”
“Remember,” Pawlenty closed, “there is no stronger bond of love than a mother’s love. … Remember you are my favorite son.”
Judge Cahill sentenced Chauvin to 22.5 years, or 270 months, behind bars on Friday.
The former officer was facing up to 40 years after he was convicted in April of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in Floyd’s death. Chauvin has been held in solitary confinement at a state prison since the conviction.
As highlighted by The Washington Post, under typical circumstances, Chauvin should have been facing 11 to 12 years behind bars per state sentencing guidelines for someone with no criminal history. However, Judge Cahill ruled last month that “prosecutors had proven there were aggravating factors in the case that called for a tougher sentence.”
The prosecution asked for Chauvin to serve 30 years behind bars, while Chauvin attorney Eric Nelson argued his client should be placed on probation and time-served.
Derek Chauvin's mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, spoke publicly for the first time Friday in defense of her son.
"My son is a good man" pic.twitter.com/Mn4TyM9YOM
— Bloomberg Quicktake (@Quicktake) June 25, 2021
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