Carolyn Marie Pawlenty, 73, of Peosta, Dubuque County, Iowa, United States was in court before Judge Peter Cahill on June 25, 2021 for the sentencing of her son Derek Michael Chauvin, 45, of Minnesota, Hennepin County, Minnesota, USA. On April 20, 2021, Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in George Floyd‘s death on May 25, 2020.
Pawlenty pleaded with Cahill for leniency and told the judge that Chauvin has a big heart. According to her, her son has played over and over in his mind the events of the day he knelt on Floyd’s neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds.
“I’ve seen the toll it has taken on him,” Pawlenty said of Chauvin. “I believe a lengthy sentence will not serve Derek well.”
What Pawlenty wanted the court to know, she said, was that Chauvin is “a good man.” She said her son’s identity had been reduced to that as a racist but for her, “none of these things are true.”
“When you sentence my son, you will also be sentencing me,” Pawlenty told Cahill. “I will not be able to see Derek, talk to him on the phone or give him our special hug.”
In the end, Chauvin received a sentence of 22 years and six months in prison with credit for time served for the second-degree unintentional murder of Floyd. Prior to this, Pawlenty told her son, “I have always believed in your innocence and I’ll never waver from that.”
Sentences for Chauvin’s second-degree manslaughter and third-degree murder charges have yet to be adjudicated. Upon learning about the sentencing, 46th U.S. president Joe Biden, 78, said, “I don’t know all the circumstances that were considered but it seems to me under the guidelines, that seems to be appropriate.”