Derek Chauvin's mother told a Minneapolis judge that the former police officer has a big heart, and she opposed a lengthy sentence for her son, who was convicted of second-degree murder in the death of George Floyd last year.
Carolyn Pawlenty said Chauvin's selfless character has been twisted by the media into an unfair depiction.
"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."
She said that the public "will never know the loving and caring man he is" and that she has always supported her son 100%.
Addressing her son, who was sitting nearby at Friday's sentencing hearing, "I have always believed in your innocence, and I'll never waver from that."
She pleaded with Judge Peter Cahill for leniency.
"When you sentence him, you will also be sentencing me," she said. "I won't be able to see him or give him our special hug. When he is released, his father and I most likely won't be here."