An Alabama sheriff has been placed on leave after he was seen mocking the suicide of an #LGTBQ teen.
The world lost the precious life of Nigel Shelby, a 15-year-old openly gay teen who attended Huntsville High School. Nigel took his own life last Thursday after reportedly being bullied repeatedly for his sexual orientation. “He would tell me that kids would say things to him that would hurt his feelings,” Nigel’s mother, Camika Shelby, told NBC News. “I didn’t think it was as deep as things I’m hearing now.”
Nigel’s death ignited an outcry from the LGTBQ community as well as its supporters, calling for the end of homophobic bullying and harassment. But the message has yet to hit many, including a Huntsville sheriff’s deputy who mocked the boy’s death on a local news station’s Facebook post. In the post, the station was using the teen’s death to raise awareness about LGBTQ bullying, and that’s when the sheriff’s deputy, #JeffGraves, decided to comment hate instead of love.
“Liberty Guns Bible Trump BBQ That’s my kind of LGBTQ [sic],” the deputy commented below an article on Nigel’s death posted to Facebook, according to a screenshot obtained by local NBC affiliate WAFF. “I’m seriously offended that there is such a thing such as this movement. Society cannot and should not except this behavior.” He continued: “I have a right to be offended and will always be offended by this fake movement which requires no special attention but by person with an altered ego and fake agenda.”
The Madison County Sheriff’s Office confirmed via Twitter on Tuesday that officials were aware of the Facebook comment, and that the deputy was placed on administrative leave until an investigation is launched, according to Insider.
“The Madison County Sheriff’s Office acknowledges complaints of social media post allegedly made by an employee of the Sheriff’s Office to a local media outlet’s FB post on Sunday,” the office said. “The public can be assured that a thorough and complete audit will be conducted to arrive at an appropriate conclusion.” In addition, Sheriff Kevin Turner offered his condolences to the teen’s family and friends and spoke out against bullying. “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,” Turner said in the statement. “The Madison County Sheriff’s Office is proud of the community support and engagement we have received over the years, and we look forward to growing those community partnerships.”