Metro Weekly

Alabama sheriff’s deputy who posted homophobic comments in response to teen’s suicide gets hired as town police officer

Owens Cross Roads police chief says Jeff Graves "deserves a second chance"

Photo: Madison County Sheriff’s Office, via Facebook.

A former Alabama county sheriff’s deputy who resigned after posting homophobic comments on social media in response the suicide of a gay teenager has been hired as a police officer for a nearby small town.

Jeff Graves, the former deputy for Madison County, in northern Alabama, took to Facebook in April to comment on a news story about 15-year-old Nigel Shelby, who committed suicide after being bullied and harassed because of his sexual orientation. In his comments, Graves called the LGBTQ movement “fake.”

“Liberty. Guns. Bible. Trump. BBQ. That’s my kind of LGBTQ movement,” Graves posted. “I’m seriously offended there is such a thing such as the movement. Society cannot and should not accept this behavior.”

Graves later deleted the comments, but was suspended that month regardless. He resigned of his own accord in May.

An internal investigation later “uncovered multiple violations of both county and sheriff’s office policies,” Sheriff Kevin Turner said at the time — although he did not elaborate on what the violations or policies were.

Now, Graves has been hired as a police officer in Owens Cross Roads, and began his first day on the job on Monday, reports The Huntsville Times.

“Everybody deserves a second chance,” Owens Cross Roads Police Chief Jason Dobbins said of Graves.

Dobbins told Huntsville-area CBS affiliate WHNT that he believed Graves was remorseful over the remarks, and told — affiliate WAAY that he does not believe Graves will exhibit bias toward anyone.

“He’s an officer here,” Dobbins said. “We feel he will be a good addition to the department.”

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Shelf Wood
John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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