The verdict in the Derek Chauvin murder trial does bring about some sense of relief, especially for African Americans all across the country.

All of us are affected by these unjustified acts of violence, both directly and indirectly. There are many other families who are also still seeking justice.

Justice is still being sought for Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and so many more. For right now, only the justice was in the verdict itself. America will have to wait about eight weeks to see if true justice will be served, and that still remains to be seen.

People get so caught up in the moment when hearing “guilty, guilty, guilty” and celebrating without knowing the end game results. Folks need to look at the window instead of through it and see how the judge weighs in. We may have won a battle, but we haven’t won the war on unlawful policing.

On the very same day of the Chauvin verdict, 16-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant was shot and killed at the hands of a Columbus, Ohio police officer just as the nation celebrated the verdict.

She reportedly called the Columbus Police Department for help. It’s so sad, and there’s so much more work to be done in conjunction with the support of police reform bills.

While Tuesday’s verdict was a historic victory in our nation’s history that will long be remembered, that’s only one down. These unjustified killings by law enforcement due to unlawful policing has to cease. Proper law enforcement training must be increased everywhere.

It would be great if they could take a page out of our local MPD’s book and learn from it. Just last week, members from the African American Coalition met with MPD Chief Steve Bryan who shared with us some of the steps they are taking on the local level to help ensure and prevent such senseless acts from happening, especially when subduing someone or making a proper arrest when needed.

Kudos to the leadership of Chief Bryan at the Madisonville Police Department for being proactive.

As a community, we need to come to the table and have conversations between law enforcement, organizations and community. It helps to bring about better understanding and unity for everyone. We should never wait until something bad happens, we need to be prepared if or when it does happen.

By being proactive, communicating and working together on things that matter, we can help to ensure that what happened to George Floyd will never happen in Madisonville and Hopkins County.

Over the years, African American Coalition of Hopkins County and local law enforcement officials, have always done that.

Bill McReynolds serves as president of the African American Coalition of Hopkins County.

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