DAYTONA BEACH (CBSMiami) – The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office is calling it a ‘teachable moment’ after their deputies stopped a Black man jogging through a predominately white neighbor because he matched the description of a burglary suspect.
“Of course it was pretty scary. I didn’t know what was going on at first when he approached me,” recalled Joseph Griffin.
The deputies stopped griffin, 28, during his afternoon jog in their search for a lawn equipment thief who had a similar description according to a witness.
On a deputy’s body cam video, you can hear him ask Griffin for his ID after telling him he matched the description.
“Can I see your id? Literally they said white tank top, black shorts and they said you had a beard. I’m not saying it’s you,” the deputy said.
Griffin, who was wearing a white tank top and black shorts, started a Facebook Live as deputies put him in handcuffs.
“I figured if there were eyes on, then nothing bad would have happened,” he said.
“You’re not under arrest. I’m detaining you right now because you fit the description, okay,” a deputy can be heard telling Griffin.
Another deputy actually held Griffin’s phone on the ground so it could still live stream and record the incident.
“We’ll take care of you buddy, we promise we’re not gonna let anything happen,” he said.
Griffin, a father of two, said it took about 15 minutes before deputies cleared and released him. He said they also apologized for the inconvenience.
“We just want to say thank you. Not everybody is that understanding and respectful,” a deputy can be heard saying on the video.
“The deputy was right and kept his promise, nothing bad happened,” said Griffin on his Facebook Live.
“The way we stopped Mr. Griffin is the way we would have stopped a white guy, a Black guy, a Hispanic guy or a purple guy,” said Volusia Co. Sheriff Mike Chitwood.
The sheriff called it a ‘teachable moment’ and invited Griffin to attend their implicit bias training classes to share his experience with law enforcement.
“I learned that Mr. Griffin was a former military police officer. I asked if he would come in and do trainings with our entire staff. He was surprised about it and agreed. Due to COVID-19, we can only train 20 people at a time. We will start trainings early October and keep doing it,” Sheriff Chitwood added. “I also offered him a job. We have 40 openings now. But he declined that offer saying he had a job in healthcare.”
“No one will say you’re wrong for being frustrated because it’s scary and frustrating. But, i will say if you remain calm, at least 85 percent of the time the situation will go your way. Yes, the officer has authority, but in the end, you have control,” said Griffin.