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The sheriff of Volusia County, Fla., has offered a law enforcement job to a black man who was wrongly detained during a burglary investigation.
“I told him we’d train and hire him as a deputy in a second if he ever wants a new job,” Sheriff Mike Chitwood explained on Facebook.
Registered nurse Joseph Griffin, a military veteran, was out jogging in the city of Deltona, Fla., when sheriff’s deputies detained him. Griffin was wearing a white tank top and dark shorts, which allegedly matched the description of a bearded black man for whom cops were on the lookout.
The friendly, apologetic officers repeatedly reassured a calm Griffin, who had identified himself as a vet and immediately produced his ID, that they were just conducting an investigation, and they would cut him loose as soon as he was cleared.
“You’re not in any trouble or anything, there’s a burglary that happened — you kind of fit the description,” the lead officer said.
“Just let me make sure you’re not him, okay…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.”
“Bear with me, okay. because you fit the description. I’m not saying you’re guilty, but my sergeant is telling me to detain you,” he added.
Griffin apparently began filming the encounter on Facebook Live with his phone.
He later told Orlando’s Fox35 that “Witnesses’ descriptions are never perfect, and it is very scary when your future is in the hands of that nonperfect identification and description,”
While he was on active duty, Griffin served as a military police officer and a medic.
Cops uncuffed and released Griffin after about 15 minutes once they determined that the suspect was someone else after reviewing surveillance video at the crime scene. Officers thanked him for his cooperation.
It is standard and universal operating procedure for police to place a subject in handcuffs while they conduct an inquiry about a potential crime.
At the end of the video, deputies appear to be taking another man into custody.
Watch the footage of the stop from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office embedded below:
(Source: 10 Tampa Bay)
In addition to offering to hire Griffin on the police force, Sheriff Chitwood explained that the ex-soldier would participate in an upcoming training session for deputies.
“Joseph Griffin is going to come out and join us during implicit bias training, and tell this story from his perspective. I think we can all learn from his point of view, just like he has listened to ours. Mr. Griffin is a military veteran and a medical professional, and I told him we’d train and hire him as a deputy in a second if he ever wants a new job.”
The sheriff also praised Griffin “who was going out of his way to be cooperative and respectful,” as well as his deputies for how they handled the situation. “Everyone involved in this deserves recognition for a job well done.”
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