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A Sheriff's Deputy Is On Leave After Making Anti-Gay Comments On A Facebook Post About A Teen's Suicide

A Facebook post linked to a story on raising awareness about bullying in the LGBT community after a 15-year-old boy who was gay killed himself.

Posted on April 23, 2019, at 7:15 p.m. ET

A sheriff's deputy in Alabama is on leave for anti-gay comments he made on a Facebook post advocating for more awareness about bullying after a 15-year-old boy killed himself.

Madison County Deputy Jeff Graves wrote that he was "seriously offended" and that "society cannot and should not except [sic] this behavior," in response to a post shared by Huntsville TV station WZDX on Sunday, according to AL.com.

"Liberty. Guns. Bible. Trump. BBQ. That's my kind of LGBTQ," Graves wrote in a series of comments that have since been removed but were captured in screenshots. "I have a right to be offended and will always be offended by this fake movement."

Jeff Graves is with the Madison Co. Sheriff’s office in Alabama. A 15 year old boy who’s gay committed suicide there. This sheriff decided to make his views clear. @mcsosheriffAL Anyone else want to let them know Jeff Graves is representing them so well?

The post linked to a story on raising awareness about bullying in the LGBT community after 15-year-old Nigel Shelby, a gay freshman at Huntsville High School, killed himself after reportedly being bullied.

Graves did not immediately respond to BuzzFeed News' request for comment.

Madison County Sheriff's Office Lt. Donny Shaw said the department was aware of the comments and that the employee involved had been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.

"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," Shaw said in a statement Monday. "The sheriff’s office holds all its employees to high standard, and the public can be assured that a thorough and complete audit will be conducted and appropriate action will be taken."

Madison County Sheriff Kevin Turner offered condolences to Nigel's family and friends, saying in a statement that "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."

In response to another Facebook user who identified Graves as a sheriff's deputy in the comments, Graves said he was exercising his free speech rights and that he was "off duty on my personal time," the screenshots show.

"Do I come to your job and throw rocks at you sir ????? So stay out of my Personel life," he added.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org. You can also text TALK to 741741 for free, anonymous 24/7 crisis support in the US from the Crisis Text Line.

UPDATE

This post has been updated to clarify that the Crisis Text Line provides crisis intervention and support for people going through a wide variety of problems, but does not offer long-term therapy or counseling.

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