DELTONA, Fla. — "Wrong place -- wrong time," said Joseph Griffin, a Black man who was detained by Florida deputies as they looked for someone wanted in a burglary.
It happened last week when Griffin, while out on a run, was stopped by Volusia County Sheriff's Office deputies. The tense encounter between the jogger and deputies "deserves recognition" for how everyone handed it, said the sheriff, who even offered Griffin a job.
"You're not in any in trouble or anything, there's, uh, a burglary that happened -- you kind of fit the description," the responding deputy told Griffin.
"Really?" Griffin responded. He was wearing a white tank job and black shorts.
"Just let me make sure you're not him...Literally, they said, white tank top, black shorts. And they said that you had a beard. I'm not saying it's you, but it was a Black male, again, not saying it's you, buddy," the deputy said.
After Griffin passed along identification to the deputy, he was seen on his phone starting a Facebook Live video to record the encounter. Because he fit the suspected burglar's description, the deputy said he had to detain him by the order of his sergeant.
"If something happens to me, y'all better raise hell," said Griffin as he was being handcuffed. After a helicopter flew overhead, Griffin said, "It's just a lot going on today," likely in reference to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
"We're the same, you know me, Imma take care of you," the deputy responded.
The deputy's body camera video runs for about 18 minutes in its entirety as posted on the sheriff's office Facebook page before flashing over to deputies arresting the man accused of burglary.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said Griffin, who's a military veteran and medical worker, would join the office during an implicit bias training session. Griffin also, the sheriff said, could have a new job if he so chose.
"I told him we'd train and hire him as a deputy in a second if he ever wants a new job," Chitwood wrote on Facebook.
"I also just want to say again how proud I am of the deputies who handled this call. Granted, nothing like Facebook Live existed when I was starting out, but I don’t know if a young Mike Chitwood would have kept a live video running for somebody I was detaining. These guys did it because in that moment, they understood what it meant to Mr. Griffin, who was going out of his way to be cooperative and respectful."
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