Derek Chauvin had fear in eyes, showed shame and loss of pride at sentencing: Expert
Body language expert Patti Wood claimed that to the regular eye it might have gone unnoticed, but Derek Chauvin's expression revealed plenty
Derek Chauvin's infamous reserve and passive demeanor during his trial of George Floyd's murder once again made headlines after his sentencing on June 25. The ex-cop appeared in a Minnesota court after his April 18 verdict that found him guilty of the death of Floyd. During his sentencing, Chauvin again earned the reputation of lacking remorse and expressing visible anger. But a body language expert has noted the significant moments from the live hearing that was telecast online and highlighted how he showed 'fear in his eyes' and his slumped posture indicated a 'loss of pride'.
Chauvin was handed a sentence of 22.5 years, with 199 days already served. This is the longest sentence a cop has been given for unlawful use of deadly force. Chauvin is likely to serve just 15 years before he's up for parole — something protesters chanting outside the Minneapolis courtroom claimed wasn't enough. Chauvin has also been prohibited from possessing a gun, ammunition or explosives for the rest of his life, and is also required to register as a predatory offender. This comes after Chauvin was found guilty for second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
Chauvin, believes an expert, 'felt shame' as his mother Carolyn Pawlenty took the stand during his sentencing on Friday, June 25. But to the regular eye these moments might have gone unnoticed, body language expert Patti Wood told the Daily Mail. Wood claimed it is "disturbing to the public that Chauvin was not outwardly emotional," but as he realized he's about to spend two decades in prison, Chauvin froze in response to the threat or danger of it.
"Fight or flight aren't the only natural reactions to threat," Wood explained, adding that to "freeze" in response to those feelings is perfectly common too. "The general public sees that as cold, but it's actually a natural reaction," Wood said thus explaining Chauvin's passive aura in court ever since his trial for killing Floyd began. Floyd was arrested for allegedly using a counterfeit $20 bill at a Minnesota store, and he was subsequently killed during the arrest procedure. The full incident caught on camera by a teenager became the prime source of evidence, thus sparking worldwide protests and outbursts for Black Lives Matter.
Disgraced, fired and vehemently condemned online and otherwise, Chauvin shocked the media and regular people both when he accepted his guilty verdict with smug gusto, as many alleged at the time. Several found similarities in his demeanor at his sentencing, but Wood insists while his body remained unmoved, Chauvin's darting eyes and furrowed brow showed fear. "His facial expressions are very intense. His eyes are dating back and forth as if saying 'where do I go? What do I do?' It's a very obvious indication of fear," Wood said.
As Chauvin took to the mic to offer his condolences directly to Floyd's family, his hoarse voice expressed fatigue, Wood claimed. His slumped posture was a direct contrast from what people are used to seeing from Chauvin throughout his trial too. "For much of his trial, he sat with his shoulders back and up and his chest outward," Wood stated, "but during his speech he had a sunken chest and a deep profound slope of the shoulders. That shows loss of pride, as if he is literally sunken down." Chauvin's body, angled away from the mic, also suggested hesitation, Wood claimed, adding that neither his body language nor his hoarse voice matched the assertive address he gave.
When his mother took the stand, begging judge Peter Cahill for mercy towards her son, Chauvin's body language expressed the shame he felt, the expert claimed. "He was looking down, rather than at her and his body was not facing directly towards her," noted Wood, continuing to explain: "Most people would want to connect with their mother, to look directly at them and offer them some comfort and reassurance, but he is turned away from her and his eyes are lowered. It seems it was painful for him to hear her, so much so that he tried to turn away and not watch. There are indications of embarrassment and shame."
Speaking to the former cop, Judge Cahill said of his sentencing: "This is based on your abuse of a position of trust and authority and also the particular cruelty shown to George Floyd. I'm not basing my sentencing on public opinion, I'm not basing it on any attempt to send any messages." To Floyd's family, who also addressed the court, Judge Cahill said, "I acknowledge and hear the pain that you're feeling."