An Alabama sheriff's deputy has been placed on administrative leave after reportedly leaving a homophobic comment on a Facebook post about a teen’s suicide.
Madison County Deputy Jeff Graves commented Sunday that he was "seriously offended" by the LGBTQ movement on a post from an Alabama TV station about people raising awareness of bullying following 15-year-old Nigel Shelby’s death, Al.com reported.
"Liberty. Guns. Bible. Trump. BBQ. That’s my kind of LGBTQ,” the since-deleted post from Graves read. “Society cannot and should not accept this behavior. I have a right to be offended and will always be offended by this fake movement which requires no special attention but by persons with an altered ego and fake agenda.”
The sheriff’s office acknowledged the complaints about the posts in a statement on Twitter and announced the employee involved is on administrative leave “pending the outcome of the audit.”
“The Madison County Sheriff’s Office responds promptly to allegations of misconduct by any of it’s employees,” the statement continued. “The process of investigating misconduct allegations is in accordance with established MCSO policies and procedures and MadCo Personnel Department policies and procedures.”
Nigel’s mother Camika Shelby told WAFF that her son, a freshman at Huntsville High School, had been bullied because of his sexuality and struggled with depression.
Lesbian, gay and bisexual students are roughly four times more likely to seriously consider suicide, or make a plan to attempt suicide and to attempt suicide, than their straight peers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Suicide rates for black children are also roughly double those of their white peers, according to a study published in JAMA Pediatrics.
“I don’t want him to be remembered as a kid who was bullied for being gay and who took his own life,” Shelby told the station. “He was so much more than that. He was sunshine.”
Suicide Lifeline: If you or someone you know may be struggling with suicidal thoughts, you can call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) any time of day or night or chat online.
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