COLUMBUS (WCMH) — As the trial of Derek Chauvin comes to a close, people around the country and here in central Ohio are responding to the guilty verdict.

For those in Columbus’ Black community, it’s a moment many were relieved to see, but didn’t expect.

Such as President John Gregory, of the African American Male Wellness Agency, who said historically, trials involving police officers usually end with an acquittal.  

Gregory said the verdict is just the beginning, and that the community needs to remain focused on coming together and staying united for all other similar cases.

“We have got to continue to organize ourselves, we’ve got to continue to educate ourselves, and we’ve got to continue to put ourselves in a position that society really understands that Black men are not at the bottom, that we matter,” Gregory said.

Chauvin was found guilty on two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter in Floyd’s death.

At a local barbershop in Columbus’ King-Lincoln district, customers and staff watched and waited for hours during the deliberation, many even expressing doubt that there might be a conviction.

But that doubt turned into cautious optimism after the guilty verdict, which some believe may lead to a change in policing in this country.

Mind you, we’ve got a long way to go, but this is the first step,” said barber Rickey Duckett. “Hopefully, to being policed equally.”