An Alabama police officer who resigned after mocking the suicide of a gay teenager has been re-hired by another branch of law enforcement.
Jeff Graves has been hired to serve as a police officer in the Owens Cross Roads Police Department, just two months after he was forced to resign as a sheriff’s deputy in Madison County over homophobic comments.
In April, the disgraced officer had left derogatory comments on a Facebook post about the suicide of 15-year-old gay teem Nigel Shelby, writing: “Liberty, Guns, Bible, Trump, BBQ, That’s my kind of LGBTQ movement.”
Alabama police officer re-hired months after anti-gay comments
He had posted: “I’m seriously offended there is such a thing such as this movement. Society cannot and should not except [sic] this behaviour.
“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.”
Just three months on from his comments, Owens Cross Roads Police chief Jason Dobbins claimed that Graves deserves a second chance.
According to NBC, Dobbins said: “”Officer Graves may not have the same views as everyone else, but that doesn’t prevent him from doing his job as an officer.
“He’s going to make a great addition to our department.”
The police chief stressed to local media that all the officer’s interactions with the community will be recorded on police body cameras.
He added: “Everyone deserves a second chance.”
Mocked teen died by suicide after homophobic bullying
Nigel Shelby, 15, died by suicide after homophobic bullying at his school in Huntsville, Alabama.
The teen’s mother Camika Shelby said her he had been struggling with depression and had been the victim of homophobic bullying.
She said: “Nigel was the sweetest child. He was outgoing, he was always full of joy, full of light, he was always singing, always dancing.
“He wanted to be a performer so you could probably see that.
“I don’t want him to be remembered as a kid who was bullied for being gay and who took his own life. He was so much more than that.
“He was sunshine. He was just a great spirit to have around and it just breaks my heart because I feel like he had so much more love to give.”
If you are in the US and are having suicidal thoughts, suffering from anxiety or depression, or just want to talk, call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255. If you are in the UK, you can contact the Samaritans on 116 123.