Madison County, Ala., Sheriff’s Office Deputy Jeff Graves wrote hateful and homophobic comments after the death of 15-year-old Nigel Shelby in April 2019. Shelby committed suicide on April 18 after being the target of homophobic bullying, according to WHNT 19 News.
Shelby was only a freshman in high school. His family mostly received an outpouring support from the community and the school. But not everyone saw Shelby’s death as a tragedy.
Graves wrote this from his Facebook account in regard to Shelby’s death:
“Liberty Guns Bible Trump BBQ. That’s my kind of LGBTQ movement. I’m seriously offended there is such a thing such as the movement. Society cannot and should not accept this behavior.”
The controversial comments were removed but are still circulating on social media and gained national attention.
When the sheriff’s office found out about Graves’ comments, he was placed on administrative leave. An investigation found that, unsurprisingly, Graves had violated county and sheriff’s office policies multiple times. Graves resigned from employment with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office in May 2019.
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But homophobia and bigotry does not mean that much in this area of Alabama.
Graves was hired just last week as an Owens Cross Roads police officer, which is near Madison County.
Owens Cross Roads Police Chief Jason Dobbins said that Graves “deserves a second chance” and that he showed remorse for the Facebook post. Dobbins told local media that everything Graves did would be recorded on police body cameras and nonsensically, he added that Owens Cross Roads Police Department treats everyone equally, adding “justice is blind.”
Dobbins said that he had a discussion with all Owens Cross Roads officers about their conduct on social media and what is appropriate but did not address how or if he would address sensitivity and diversity training with his officers.