MADISON COUNTY, Ala. - A Madison County Sheriff's Deputy has resigned after an investigation into homophobic comments he made on social media last month.
Deputy Jeff Graves from the Madison County Sheriff's Office chose to share his opinion on the LGBTQ community from his Facebook account after the death of 15-year-old Nigel Shelby.
He wrote in response to a public posted story:
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."
The controversial comments were removed but are still circulating on social media and gained national attention.
His posts sparked conversations throughout the community and some questioned if he can respond as he did as a public employee working under a department policy that restricts what he can and cannot say publicly.
When the sheriff’s office was made aware of the comments made by Graves, he was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation.
The sheriff's office confirmed that their investigation uncovered multiple violations of both County and Sheriff’s Office policies. In accordance with policy, a hearing on the allegations and policy violations was held Friday, and Graves resigned from employment with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office effective immediately.
Sheriff Kevin Turner said in a statement:
"The Madison County Sheriff’s Office mission is to serve ALL citizens of Madison County, regardless of their gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. We must be able to serve and protect everyone without hesitation, and if we don’t have the community’s trust we can’t succeed in our mission. I hold myself and every other employee of the Sheriff’s Office to a high standard, and we will not lower that standard. As one of the few Sheriff’s Offices in the southeast to earn CALEA accreditation, we have shown we can achieve a high level of professionalism. I can assure everyone that we will constantly strive to ensure that our agency does not just stay at its current level but continues to look for ways to improve. I appreciate the patience and trust the community has afforded us during this investigation, and I hope with the closure of this investigation we can move forward and continue to build on our partnerships within the community."