Derek Chauvin’s mother, Carolyn Pawlenty, has said she fears she will be dead before her son is released from prison for the murder of George Floyd.
Speaking ahead of her son’s sentencing, Ms Pawlenty said she was “here to speak on behalf of my entire family“ about her son, who was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in April.
Mr Floyd died after Chauvin, then a Minneapolis police officer, kneeled on his neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest over the alleged use of a counterfeit $20 note.
“Derek devoted 19 years of his life to Minneapolis Police Department,” Ms Pawlenty said on Friday during her statement.
“It has been difficult for me to hear … the media, public and prosecution team believe Derek to be an aggressive, heartless and uncaring person,” she said, adding: “I can tell you that is far from the truth.”
“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,” she said.
“Derek always dedicated his life and time to the police department,” she asserted. “Even on his days off he would call in to see if they needed help.”
“When you sentence my son you will also be sentencing me,” she said.
“I will not be able to see Derek, talk to him on the phone or give him a special hug. Plus, the fact that when he is released, his father and I most likely will not be here,” she said.
Addressing her son directly, Ms Pawlenty said she has always believed in his innocence.
“One final thought,” she added in closing: “I want you to remember, remember you are my favourite son.”
Ms Pawlenty’s comments came after victim impact statements from Mr Floyd’s family, including his 7-year-old daughter Gianna Floyd.
“I ask about him all the time,” Gianna said in her impact statement.
“I want to play with him, have fun, go on a plane ride and that’s it,” she said.
Describing her life with her dad, Gianna said: “We used to have dinner every single night before we went to bed. My daddy always used to help me brush my teeth.”
Gianna said she knew that “mean people” had done something to her father.
If she could talk to him again, Gianna said she would say: “I miss you and I love you.”