For the very first time, Derek Chauvin’s mother spoke publicly about her son as she stood in front of the court during his sentencing hearing on Friday, June 25. The mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, spoke just before her son was given a sentence of 22 and a half years in prison for the murder of George Floyd. Calling him her “favorite son,” Carolyn said she believes Chauvin is innocent and begged the court to give him a lenient sentence.
“My son’s identity has also been reduced to that of a racist,” Pawlenty said. “I want this court to know that none of these things are true and that my son is a good man.”
As she called her son a man with a big heart, Carolyn added, “The public will never know the loving and caring man he is… Even though I’ve not spoken publicly, I’ve always supported him 100% and always will.” Pleading with the court for a lighter sentence, the mother said, “I believe a lengthy sentence will not serve Derek well. 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.”
Carolyn gave a message directly to her son and said, “Derek, my happiest moment is when I gave birth to you. 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.’ Derek, I want you to know I’ve always believed in your innocence. And I will never waver from that.” During the hearing on Friday, the court also saw Chauvin speak to Floyd’s family and give a message that some thought was a bit cryptic.
“At this time, due to some additional legal matters at hand, I’m not able to give a full formal statement at this time,” Chauvin said. “But very briefly, though, I want to send my condolences to the Floyd family. There’s gonna be some other information in the future that would be of interest,” he added ominously. “And I hope things will give you some peace of mind. Thank you.”
Family members related to Floyd also gave emotional statements in court on the day of Chauvin’s sentencing. The court saw a video message of Floyd’s 7-year-old daughter, Gianna Floyd, where the little girl spoke about her daddy and how much she misses him.
“I want to play with him, have fun, go on a plane ride,” Gianna said. “We used to have dinner meals every single night before we went to bed. My daddy always used to help me brush my teeth.”
“I miss you and I love you,” the bereaved little girl said.
After Chauvin was given his sentence of 22 and a half years in prison, Hennepin County District Judge Peter Cahill said the sentence was not influenced by public opinion, “emotion or sympathy. “This is based on your abuse of a position of trust and authority and also the particular cruelty shown to George Floyd,” the judge said and wanted Chauvin to “acknowledge the deep and tremendous pain that all the families are feeling, especially the Floyd family.”