Joseph Griffin was jogging in his Deltona neighborhood on Aug. 27 when he was approached by Volusia County officers looking for a man believed to have stolen a leaf blower. They informed him that he fit the description of the suspect and repeatedly ensured he was not yet in any trouble.
Griffin subsequently started a Facebook Live to document his encounter with the cops given the situation took a turn for the worse. According to the footage, one of the officers told Griffin he was going to be detained and made it clear that he was not being arrested.
Griffin’s phone was then placed on the ground as he was being handcuffed. “If something happens to me, you all better raise hell,” Griffin said to his Facebook followers before an officer at the scene said he was also filming the moment.
Despite being wrongfully detained, Griffin said he understood the officers were doing their job, noting “nobody likes being put in cuffs.” “I don’t believe they just stopped me because I’m Black,” he continued. “There was a description. The scary thing is that witness descriptions are just never 100% accurate. And to have your future and life off that not accurate witness description is very scary.”
Sheriff Mike Chitwood of the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office reviewed the bodycam footage from the incident and commended both Griffin and the deputy officers for their peaceful interaction. “When you get stopped by police this is how to act. This really is a teachable moment. We can learn from each other,” he told CNN. Chitwood said he offered Griffin, a former military officer, a job at the department, but he declined and agreed to help with bias training.