Police officer suspended for calling LGBTQ people 'offensive' after gay teen dies by suicide

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Nigel Shelby, a gay teen in Huntsville, Alabama died by suicide on April 18th. (Photo: Go Fund Me)Nigel Shelby, a gay teen in Huntsville, Alabama died by suicide on April 18th. (Photo: Go Fund Me)
Nigel Shelby, a gay teen in Huntsville, Alabama, died by suicide on April 18th. (Photo: Go Fund Me)
<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="A police officer in Alabama is on temporary leave for writing on Facebook that he is “seriously offended” by&nbsp;LGBTQ people, after a gay teen died by suicide.” data-reactid=”22″>A police officer in Alabama is on temporary leave for writing on Facebook that he is “seriously offended” by LGBTQ people, after a gay teen died by suicide.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Deputy Jeff Graves of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office&nbsp;in Huntsville, Alabama, recently wrote on social media: "Liberty. Guns. Bible. Trump. BBQ. That’s my kind of LGBTQ movement. I’m seriously offended there is such a thing… as this movement. 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.”” data-reactid=”23″>Deputy Jeff Graves of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office in Huntsville, Alabama, recently wrote on social media: “Liberty. Guns. Bible. Trump. BBQ. That’s my kind of LGBTQ movement. I’m seriously offended there is such a thing… as this movement. 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.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="According to&nbsp;AL.com, Graves wrote the message on a post shared by the news station&nbsp;WZDX&nbsp;about a&nbsp;Huntsville High School student named Nigel Shelby, 15, who died by suicide on April 18 after being bullied, according to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.” data-reactid=”28″>According to AL.com, Graves wrote the message on a post shared by the news station WZDX about a Huntsville High School student named Nigel Shelby, 15, who died by suicide on April 18 after being bullied, according to the Madison County Sheriff’s Office.

When challenged, Graves wrote that the First Amendment protects his freedom of speech.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Social media and news outlets&nbsp;AL.com&nbsp;and&nbsp;WAFF&nbsp;screenshot Graves’ messages before he deleted them.” data-reactid=”32″>Social media and news outlets AL.com and WAFF screenshot Graves’ messages before he deleted them.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="County Lieutenant Donny Shaw tells Yahoo Lifestyle in a statement: 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 Sheriff’s Office has assigned these allegations to be audited with the information that has been provided to us. The Sheriff’s Office holds all its employees to [a] high standard, and the public can be assured that a thorough and complete audit will be conducted and appropriate action will be taken.”” data-reactid=”33″>County Lieutenant Donny Shaw tells Yahoo Lifestyle in a statement: 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 Sheriff’s Office has assigned these allegations to be audited with the information that has been provided to us. The Sheriff’s Office holds all its employees to [a] high standard, and the public can be assured that a thorough and complete audit will be conducted and appropriate action will be taken.”

The statement continued: “The involved employee has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the audit. The Madison County Sheriff’s Office responds promptly to allegations of misconduct by any of its employees. The process of investigating misconduct allegations is in accordance with established Madison County Sheriff’s Office policies and procedures and Madison County Personnel Department policies and procedures.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Shaw confirmed that Graves’ comments were in association with the Facebook post by&nbsp;WZDX Fox 54. “Sheriff Kevin Turner offers his condolences to the family and friends of Nigel Shelby whose young life was lost to suicide last week….”” data-reactid=”35″>Shaw confirmed that Graves’ comments were in association with the Facebook post by WZDX Fox 54. “Sheriff Kevin Turner offers his condolences to the family and friends of Nigel Shelby whose young life was lost to suicide last week….”

Turner wrote, “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. 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.”

Shaw says that after the investigation, Turner will call a press conference to “address the community directly.”

Graves did not return an interview request from Yahoo Lifestyle.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Shelby’s mother could not be reached for comment by Yahoo Lifestyle. She has a&nbsp;GoFundMe page&nbsp;for Shelby’s funeral costs, for which people have donated more than $29,000.” data-reactid=”41″>Shelby’s mother could not be reached for comment by Yahoo Lifestyle. She has a GoFundMe page for Shelby’s funeral costs, for which people have donated more than $29,000.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Chaundra Jones, who identified herself as Shelby’s aunt, told&nbsp;WAAY 31&nbsp;that the teen, who loved Ariana Grande and theater, came out when he was 13 years old and had been treated for depression. She said that bullying may have played a role, but that it was not the reason for his death.” data-reactid=”42″>Chaundra Jones, who identified herself as Shelby’s aunt, told WAAY 31 that the teen, who loved Ariana Grande and theater, came out when he was 13 years old and had been treated for depression. She said that bullying may have played a role, but that it was not the reason for his death.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Allen Gordon, the assistant director of the&nbsp;Tennessee Valley Rocket City Pride&nbsp;in Huntsville, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that he didn’t know Shelby personally; however, the teen was considered an LGBTQ family member. “Many gay kids don’t have accepting families so they create their own,” says Gordon. “Nigel was part out of ours.”” data-reactid=”43″>Allen Gordon, the assistant director of the Tennessee Valley Rocket City Pride in Huntsville, tells Yahoo Lifestyle that he didn’t know Shelby personally; however, the teen was considered an LGBTQ family member. “Many gay kids don’t have accepting families so they create their own,” says Gordon. “Nigel was part out of ours.”

“As a police officer, how do we know he won’t discriminate?” Gordon tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “Clearly, he does not view people equally.”

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="On Sunday, Rocket City Pride raised $835 for Shelby’s funeral through its monthly&nbsp;Huntsville’s Only Drag Brunch&nbsp;and Tuesday night’s “Drag Queen Bingo” event.” data-reactid=”45″>On Sunday, Rocket City Pride raised $835 for Shelby’s funeral through its monthly Huntsville’s Only Drag Brunch and Tuesday night’s “Drag Queen Bingo” event.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="Spokespeople for Huntsville High School and&nbsp;Huntsville City Schools did not return emails from Yahoo Lifestyle. On Facebook, principal Aaron King asked parents to be aware of their children’s behavior as they grieve the loss of their friend.” data-reactid=”48″>Spokespeople for Huntsville High School and Huntsville City Schools did not return emails from Yahoo Lifestyle. On Facebook, principal Aaron King asked parents to be aware of their children’s behavior as they grieve the loss of their friend.

<p class="canvas-atom canvas-text Mb(1.0em) Mb(0)–sm Mt(0.8em)–sm" type="text" content="If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.” data-reactid=”49″>If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

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