Derek Chauvin’s mom received blowback from social media commenters after she attempted to paint her son as a “loving,” and “caring” “good man” during her pre-sentencing testimony in an effort to soften the judge’s blow.
During her statement, Carolyn Pawlenty insisted that her son is not racist, uncaring or heartless, despite several reports that he failed to show remorse for kneeling on George Floyd’s neck for about 9 minutes and 29 seconds, which led to a third-degree murder charge, among others. She told Judge Peter Cahill that Chauvin “has a big heart.”
“Derek has played over and over in his head the events of that day,” Pawlenty said during her five-minute-long speech. “I’ve seen the toll it has taken on him. 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.”
Chauvin’s mother also told the judge that her son is a “quiet, thoughtful, honorable and selfless man” who shouldn’t receive a lengthy sentence.
Her commentary did not sit well with many on social media, who described Pawlenty as a preeminent Karen.
Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison Friday (June 25), two months after being found guilty in Floyd’s death, ending a saga that has lasted more than a year that sparked worldwide protest over police violence against people of color in the U.S.
The sentence represents the longest for a police officer convicted of murder in Minnesota history. Additionally, it’s also one of the longest sentences for a white police officer involved in the death of a Black person in the U.S.
In April, a jury found Chauvin, a former Minneapolis policeman, guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter over the May 25, 2020 incident in which he and three other officers, Thomas Lane, J. Alexander Kueng and Tou Thao sought to arrest Floyd on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill. In an attempt to subdue him, Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck and stared uncaringly at bystanders who warned him that the victim was dying of apparent asphyxiation. Floyd was pronounced dead later at a nearby hospital.