L-R Jeff Graves, Nigel Shelby (images via WHNT)
A police officer in Alabama who resigned amid controversy after mocking the suicide of a gay teen has been rehired just two months later.
Nigel Shelby, a 15-year-old high school student, took his own life in April after having been the target of homophobic bullying.
Jeff Graves, while working as a Madison County Sheriff’s Deputy, commented on a story posted to Facebook about Shelby’s death writing:
“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. I have a right to be offended by this fake movement which requires no special attention but by persons with an altered ego and fake agenda.”
Facebook post by Police Officer Jeff Graves (screen capture)
Local news station WHNT19 reports Graves was initially suspended, and eventually resigned in early May.
But two months later, Graves has now been hired as an Owens Cross Roads police officer.
When contacted by WHNT, Owens Cross Roads Police Chief Jason Dobbins acknowledged being aware of Graves social media controversy and defended the hiring saying, “Everyone deserves a second chance.”
Declining to speak on camera, Dobbins told WHNT over the phone that Graves had expressed remorse for the controversial Facebook post.
The police chief added that he was “confident” that Graves would be able to serve all citizens in Owens Cross, including the LGBTQ community.
He also said all of Graves’s interactions with the public would be recorded on police body cameras.