A Black man jogging within the predominantly white neighbourhood of Deltona, Florida, final month discovered himself handcuffed and detained when police mentioned he matched the outline of a suspect in a close-by housebreaking.
Joseph Griffin, 28, who was cleared, informed CNN on Tuesday night time that he has since been invited by the sheriff to assist with bias coaching.
“It is a massive alternative that I believe may assist change the connection between policing and the group, on each side,” Griffin informed CNN’s Erin Burnett.
Video shared by the Volusia County Sheriff’s Workplace confirmed how the incident unfolded.
On August 27, sheriff’s officers have been looking out for a person suspected of stealing a weed eater/leaf blower from a shed behind a house, in response to the report on the incident. One deputy came across Griffin, who was jogging and matched the outline of the housebreaking suspect.
“Hey Buddy, you are not in any hassle or something. There is a housebreaking that occurred — you sort of match the outline,” an officer is heard saying on physique digicam footage launched by VSO as he will get out of his automobile and approaches a sweaty Griffin. “Let me simply just be sure you’re not him,” the officer says.
Griffin appears stunned when he responds saying, “Actually?” and says he has his ID.
As Griffin pulls out his ID, the officer factors to Griffin’s apparel and says, “Actually they mentioned, white tank prime, black shorts and so they mentioned that you just had a beard.”
“So, I am not saying it is you, but it surely was a Black male — once more — not saying it is you, buddy,” the officer reiterates.
The officer steps again and radios his colleagues whereas Griffin is seen on physique cam footage repeatedly trying down at his cellphone. He began a Fb Dwell and was recording the encounter.
In what seems to be an edited video of the Fb Dwell posted on Griffin’s Fb timeline, he is seen respiration closely and the officer may be heard telling him, “Hear, simply bear with me OK? As a result of, you match the outline — I am not saying you are responsible.”
Griffin responds saying, “I do know,” after which appears on the Fb livestream.
“However my sergeant is telling me to detain you. That is my sergeant,” the officer says.
Holding his cellphone up larger Griffin says, “I simply had a daughter born two days in the past so simply have this on Dwell.”
“It is dwell?” the officer asks. On the officer’s physique digicam video, he says, “Do you thoughts setting it down right here?” pointing to the bottom.
Griffin then makes an attempt to place his cellphone on the bottom when the officer interrupts him and says he’ll put it on the bottom for him.
“For now I’ll detain you. However you are not underneath arrest — I am detaining you proper now since you match the outline,” the officer is heard saying on physique digicam footage.
A number of police sirens are heard approaching within the background as Griffin is handcuffed after which seen trying down at his cellphone on the bottom repeatedly saying, “If one thing occurs to me, you all higher elevate hell.”
“By the best way, I am dwell too, I even bought a recording,” the detaining officer says.
Griffin informed Burnett he was glad his household was capable of comply with what was occurring through his cellphone.
Griffin was ultimately launched as soon as officers cleared him of any involvement within the crime. Police in the end decided that Griffin was detained in error and the actual housebreaking suspect was later recognized and arrested.
Griffin informed CNN, “I did perceive the very fact they needed to do their jobs, however no person likes being put in cuffs.”
He informed Burnett race performed a task in that the primary a part of the outline is “Black male.”
“I do not imagine they simply stopped me as a result of I am Black. There was an outline. The scary factor is that witness descriptions are simply by no means 100% correct. And to have your future and lifetime of that not correct witness description could be very scary.”
However the sheriff’s workplace says this case could but yield a constructive final result.
“We knew we have been going to get beat up, criticized a bit as a result of there have been a number of officers there. It by no means appears good. However then I used to be proven the physique digicam video,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood informed CNN. “I watched the video. Mr. Griffin was nice with my deputies. And my deputies have been extraordinarily skilled. I referred to as each one in every of them to thank them for his or her professionalism. I referred to as Mr. Griffin, too, and thanked him for a way he dealt with the state of affairs. Once you get stopped by police that is the best way to act. This actually is a teachable second. We are able to be taught from one another.”
“I discovered that Mr. Griffin was a former army police officer. I requested if he would are available and do trainings with our total workers. He was stunned about it and agreed. On account of Covid-1, we are able to solely practice 20 individuals at a time. We are going to begin trainings early October and hold doing it,” Chitwood added. “I additionally supplied him a job. We’ve 40 openings now. However he declined that supply, saying he had a job in well being care.”
No stranger to policing throughout controversial race relations points, Chitwood has participated in a number of roundtables, discussions and conferences in makes an attempt to ease and racial tensions in Volusia County.