A man detained for matching the description of a burglar was later asked to work with the sheriff’s department after a viral video showed how police and the public could interact professionally.
Joseph Griffin was stopped while jogging in the Florida suburb of Deltona, north of Orlando, by police who said he matched a description from a nearby burglary – a white tank top, black shorts and beard.
“Hey buddy, you’re not in any trouble or anything. There’s a burglary that happened — you kind of fit the description. Let me just make sure that you’re not him,” the officer can be heard saying on the video.
“So, I’m not saying it’s you, but it was a black male, again, not saying it’s you buddy.”
Mr Griffin, who was wearing a white tank top and black shorts when pulled over, was detained for questioning but cleared of any connection to the burglary soon after with a suspect later arrested.
After a Facebook live video of the incident on 27 August quickly spread across social media, Mr Griffin was invited to participate in the Volusia County Sheriff Department’s implicit biased training series next Month, according to Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood.
A former military police officer who is now a registered nurse, Mr Griffin told local news Fox 35 Orlando that his experience in law enforcement taught him to remain calm and compliant.
“When you see your neighbour get pulled over and talk to the cops, perception is reality at that point and you’re gonna automatically assume that you know they’re doing something,” he said.
Mr Chitwood, who posted the police bodycam footage to Facebook, said in a statement that he wanted to recognise the professional work of the deputies and the cooperation of Mr Griffin.
“Witnesses’ descriptions are never perfect, and it is very scary when your future is in the hands of that non-perfect identification and description,” Mr Chitwood said.
“Mr Griffin was calm and cooperative even though he had reason to be frustrated with the inconvenience.”