A man in Florida who was briefly detained by police last week after he matched a suspect description has been offered a job as a sheriff’s deputy after the encounter went viral online.
Joseph Griffin was jogging in a Deltona neighborhood when he was stopped by deputies of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office.
Unfortunately for the man, he fit the description of another man police were seeking in the area who was wanted in connection to a burglary.
Griffin decided to broadcast the encounter on Facebook.
“Just bear with me, because you fit the description,” a deputy who spoke with Griffin said on the video stream.
“I’m not saying you’re guilty, but my sergeant is telling me to detain you,” the deputy added.
Griffin remained calm but appeared nervous while handcuffed.
As he and the officers spoke, a deputy told Griffin his handcuffs would “come off as easy as they go on.”
“Just think of it: If it was your home, we’d be doing the same,” the deputy who was detaining Griffin told him.
“You literally fit the description like 99 percent.”
Commenting on the sudden police presence, Griffin said, “It’s just a lot going on today” in an apparent reference to nationwide civil unrest and a narrative that police officers are biased against minority Americans.
Griffin was cleared to go after a few more minutes, and the officers thanked him for being understanding of the situation.
Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood praised Griffin and his deputies.
“These deputies did an outstanding job given the limited information they had about a call in progress,” he said.
“Likewise, Mr. Griffin was calm and cooperative even though he had reason to be frustrated with the inconvenience,” the sheriff added.
WSAV reported that deputies were eventually able to arrest a suspect in the burglary case.
But with the roadside detention came a job offer for Griffin.
“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,” Chitwood said.
“Everyone involved in this deserves recognition for a job well done,” he added.
While Griffin did say he was scared during the encounter with police and upset at being stopped, he did praise how the situation played out during an interview with The West Volusia Beacon.
“I don’t want this to be a bashing of the sheriff’s office, I want it to be an enlightening thing. Anybody can be profiled,” Griffin told the outlet. “The cop wasn’t too bad; they did some things right.”
“On the law-enforcement-compliance side, it’s a good example of how to handle yourself. If I wasn’t calm and respectful, it could have turned into something different,” he said. “There are multiple instances of the same thing that ends up with someone going to jail, getting a felony for assault, because they fight back.”
Griffin also said he would have liked to have seen the deputy who detained him wear a mask amid the coronavirus pandemic.
There is no word yet from Griffin, the sheriff’s office or the local media as to whether the man has taken police up on the job offer.
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