ORLANDO, Fla. – It’s the video seen around the world and it happened right here in Central Florida. A black man out for a jog when he was detained by Volusia County deputies because he fit the description of a suspect in the area.
But it’s what happened moments after Joseph Griffin was stopped by Volusia County deputies that likely changed the outcome of this encounter.
Griffin, who has two daughters, including a newborn, said he knew he had an important decision to make in that moment. In true 21st century fashion, he took out his cellphone and began to live stream what was happening.
During the entire encounter, Griffin and the deputies questioning him are all calm and cordial with one another. One deputy even agrees to keep the live stream going while they handcuff Griffin as they get additional information on a suspect. Promising he wouldn’t let anything bad happen to Griffin, the deputy takes his phone and continues recording.
We spoke to Griffin and Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood on the Florida’s Fourth Estate podcast about what happened.
Both men said it’s important to try and understand what the other is going through in that moment.
Griffin said he thought the deputies were actually waving at him while he was jogging but he soon realized what was really happening.
“I waved at him and I kept going. Then he got out of the car then I was like, ‘Oh wow this is real.’ Probably heart rate went from 160 to 240 real quick,” Griffin said.
Griffin joined us for our podcast while he was holding his 4-week-old daughter. We talked to him about how many situations like this don’t have a good ending and some dads never make it home to hold their children. Griffin said he was all too aware of that fact but did what he needed to do to have a positive outcome.
Chitwood said he tears up when he sees the video of Griffin being detained because it’s emotional watching what happened.
Chitwood said communication and understanding are key to how this all unfolded.
“Nobody wants to get stopped,” Chitwood said.
He said Griffin had just moved into the neighborhood and is the only African-American on his block.
“Obviously people are looking at him as much as they don’t want to admit it, but I think communication there was key to understanding,” the sheriff said,
Chitwood also said his deputies allowing the live stream to continue was a key component to turning this into a teachable moment for everyone.
Hear more from Chitwood and Griffin on this edition of Florida’s Fourth Estate with News 6 anchors Matt Austin and Ginger Gadsden. It’s available from wherever you download your podcasts.
Florida’s Fourth Estate looks at everything from swampy politics to a fragile environment and even the crazy headlines that make Florida the craziest state in the Union.
Ginger Gadsden and Matt Austin use decades of experience as journalists to dissect the headlines that impact Florida. Each week they have a guest host who helps give an irreverent look at the issues impacting the Sunshine State. Big influencers like Attorney John Morgan, renowned Florida journalists and the scientists protecting Florida’s ecosystem can often be found as guests.
Look for new episodes every week on iTunes, Sticher or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.