HUNTSVILLE, AL — (04-25-19) — An Alabama sheriff’s deputy has been suspended after posting a homophobic comment on a local news station’s report about the death of a gay teen’s death.
15 year-old Nigel Shelby of Huntsville, Alabama died by suicide on April 18. The gay teen had come out to his mother two years ago and had suffered depression after being subjected to anti-gay bullying at Huntsville High School.
“He was outgoing, he was always full of joy, full of light, he was always singing, always dancing. He wanted to be a performer,” Nigel’s mother, Camika Shelby, told local news outlet WAFF-TV.
Camika Shelby said that her son had expressed his struggles with self-esteem, but at no time did she suspect that he was thinking of committing suicide. “I’m still shocked that my baby’s not here anymore,” said Shelby.
Deputy Jeff Graves placed on Administrative Leave Following Anti-LGBT Comments on Gay Teen’s Suicide
News of Nigel Shelby’s suicide prompted an outpouring of condolences from celebrities, politicians and LGBTQ rights groups, including the Human Rights Campaign.
The tragic loss of Nigel Shelby reinforces the urgent need to support Black and African American LGBTQ youth.
In building a world where these youth can thrive, we must dismantle the barriers that deprive them of equal opportunities, dignity & respect. https://t.co/rRVhQsornj
— Human Rights Campaign (@HRC) April 24, 2019
But Madison County Deputy Jeff Graves, had a different opinion on the gay teen’s death. The now suspended deputy posted on a WZDX-TV Facebook post about Nigel’s death, saying that he was “seriously offended” by the LGBTQ rights movement.
“Liberty Guns Bible Trump BBQ That’s my kind of LGBTQ movement,” commented Dputy Jeff Graves. The station deleted his post but not before the Madison County Sheriff’s office reviewed the ugly comment by one of their deputies.
The Madison County sheriff’s office posted a note on Facebook Tuesday afternoon saying that the “involved employee has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.”
Madison County Sheriff Kevin Turner expressed his condolences to Nigel Shelby’s family and friends. “Bullying of any group or person in or outside of schools is unacceptable, and I welcome any and all efforts to raise awareness to bullying and bring bullying to a stop.” said Sheriff Turner.
The question everyone wants to know is, will the Madison Sheriff’s Department keep someone like Deputy Jeff Graves on staff following his comments.
Article by: Paul Goldberg, Staff Writer
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