A black man was detained by Florida Sheriff’s for” fitting the description” while jogging in the predominantly white neighborhood. Shortly after, he was offered a job by the same department.
In the incident, which occurred on August 27, a deputy pulled up to Joseph Griffin, 28, who was jogging, to let him know that he fit the description of a suspect accused of stealing a weed eater/leaf blower from behind a home.
“Literally they said white tank top, black shorts, and they said you had a beard,” the officer said to Griffin, who identified himself as a veteran and pulled out his ID.
Griffin started a Facebook Live to document his interaction and can be seen looking at his phone as the officer radios his colleagues.
“For now, I’m going to detain you. But you’re not under arrest. I’m detaining you right now because you fit the description,” the officer can be heard saying on body camera footage, which was also released. “By the way, I’m live too; I even got a recording.”
Sirens can be heard in the background as Griffin is handcuffed. Eventually, the officers determined that Griffin was not the suspect and let him go. The real suspect in the burglary was later apprehended.
After the mixup, in an interesting turn of events, the Sheriff’s department commended both parties for maintaining their composure and extended a job offer to Griffin.
“We knew we were going to get beat up, criticized, a bit because there were several officers there. It never looks good. But then I was shown the body camera video,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood told CNN. “I watched the video. Mr. Griffin was great with my deputies. And my deputies were extremely professional. I called each and every one of them to thank them for their professionalism. I called Mr. Griffin, too, and thanked him for how he handled the situation. When you get stopped by police, this is how to act. This really is a teachable moment. We can learn from each other.”
“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 said.
Griffin declined the offer because he already has a job in healthcare.