Carolyn Pawlenty, the mother of Derek Chauvin, said her son is “a good man” and someone who “always dedicated his life and time to the police department.”
“Even on his days off, he would call to see if they needed help,” she said.
Chauvin, 45, was convicted in April on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter for his role in George Floyd’s death.
“On Nov. 25, 2020, not only did Derek’s life change forever, but so did mine and my family’s. Derek devoted 19 years of his life to the Minneapolis Police Department,” Pawlenty said in court before the sentencing of her son. “It’s 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.”
Pawlenty added: “My son’s identity has also been reduced to that as a racist. I want this court to know that none of these things are true, and that my son is a good man.”
Chauvin’s mother went on to say that while she hasn’t spoken publicly, she never stopped supporting her son, and told the court she believes a lengthy sentence will “not serve Derek well.”
“I’ve always supported him 100% and always will. Derek has played over and over in his head the events of that day. I’ve seen the toll it has taken on him. I believe a lengthy sentence will not serve Derek well,” she told the court.
“When you sentence my son, you will also be sentencing me. 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,” she continued.
Directing her comments to Chauvin she said, “I want you to know I’ve always believed in your innocence, and I will never waiver from that.”
Chauvin’s sentencing hearing for the killing of George Floyd last year has started in Minneapolis, with the former police officer facing a potentially lengthy prison stay.
The guilty verdict on all three charges against Chauvin came nearly a year after he impassively kneeled on the neck and back of Floyd, handcuffed and lying prone on the street, for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
Under the officer’s knees, Floyd gasped for air, repeatedly exclaimed “I can’t breathe” and ultimately went silent as a group of horrified bystanders looked on.